Athletes know that sharp eyesight is as critical to sports performance as agility, strength and quick reflexes. If you play sports and require vision correction, you likely have prescription eyewear to resolve your visual problem, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. However, standard eyeglasses or contact lenses are not the best option if you want to excel in the sports arena. At our family eye care clinic, we advise many of our active patients to consider orthokeratology (ortho-k) as an alternative method of vision correction – instead of eyeglasses or daytime contacts.
Ortho-k is a safe, reliable way to correct many vision conditions and provide clear eyesight during your waking hours. This method of vision shaping is reversible, non-surgical and painless. It involves wearing specialized rigid gas permeable lenses during sleep. In the morning, the lenses are removed, yet your eyesight will remain crisp throughout the day. The effects typically last a few days, so ortho-k lenses must be inserted nightly for consistent results.
In general, eyewear simply gets in the way when you’re focusing on athletic performance. With wet sports, such as water polo, diving and swimming, eyeglasses are inappropriate and contact lenses can pose a higher risk of infection. With many ground activities, such as gymnastics, dancing or martial arts, eyeglasses are impossible to keep stable. Eyewear also compromises athletic achievement, as it often doesn’t provide adequate peripheral vision and/or it causes blind spots due to the frame or lens edges. Unrestricted side vision is critical for many sports, such as baseball and basketball. If you require vision correction and don’t want surgery, ortho-k is the perfect solution for these sports challenges.
Ortho-k vs. Standard Contact Lenses for Sports
When compared to regular contact lenses, ortho-k lenses are considered a better option for people who engage in sports regularly – for a number of reasons. Contact lenses dry out easily, especially as many athletes do not blink regularly, and dry eyes may lead to blurry, unstable vision. Contacts may also dislodge, rotate or move around in your eye, particularly when they are dry. Eye allergies are another concern, as many games are played outdoors, such as football, baseball and soccer, where pollen is plentiful and tends to stick to contacts. Ortho-k effectively removes these potential problems.
Ortho-k for Sports-minded Kids
Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a very common vision problem amongst kids, and eyeglasses are the typical treatment. Yet eyeglasses are always getting scratched or broken when kids are physically active. Contact lenses may be a possibility, but many kids are not able to care for lenses properly. With regard to laser surgery, children under age 18 are not candidates for LASIK. However, kids do qualify for ortho-k, making it an ideal solution to provide safe, sharp vision for sports-minded children. This reversible process can provide sharp, uncorrected daytime vision that will help kids excel in sports, without the inconvenience of bothersome eyewear. Most children easily get used to wearing the ortho-k lenses at night, and they love being able to run and jump freely, dive into a pool or go dancing – eyeglasses/contacts free and able to see clearly!
More Benefits of Ortho-k for Athletes
Many sports-minded individuals (kids and adults) who experienced the successful effects of ortho-k have shared that it gave them much more than crisp eyesight. They speak of having increased confidence in their vision, with less concern about fluctuating sight. These athletes also appreciate not having to worry about their eyewear getting crushed or knocked off their face! Previous contact lens wearers are fans of not having to always tote along spare contacts and cleaning solutions.
If you participate in sports or are physically active on any type of playing field, ortho-k may be the best way for you to achieve crystal-clear vision. Contact our office to discuss your candidacy for ortho-k with our professional optometrists.