Winter Eye Care Tips - Smart Vision Labs

Winter Eye Care Tips

‘Tis the season for eye health! Winter brings both the holidays and new situations to protect your eyes from. These winter eye care tips will make the cold weather a little easier on your eyes.

Hot and Cold

During winter, you likely use extra lotion to soothe your hands and carry a lip balm to prevent chapped lips. What do you do to treat dry eyes though? Dry eye can be an issue all year long but certain conditions relating to the cold months can make them more apparent. The air indoors is likely to be drier than in the warm months due to heaters or radiators running to keep you warm. The outdoor air can also be drier in the wintertime.

To counteract this, consider using a humidifier to add moisture to your home’s air flow. You may also benefit from lubricating eye drops. If you wear contact lenses, you might experience dry eyes. Your eye doctor should be able to recommend a product, either eye drops or a lens solution. This will keep your eyes moist and your contact lenses comfortable to wear.

Fun in the Sun… and Snow

Are you someone who looks forward to winter activities and sports? Whether you’re an avid skier or snowboarder or you just like to go sledding with family, one of the dangers of being outside isn’t even the snow (technically). The same UV rays from the sun that your eyes need protection from during the warm summer are still around during the cold winter. On the contrary, if there is snow on the ground, the amount of UV rays you’re exposed to can be as much as double as is present during the summer months.

How? The bright sun reflects off the white surface of the snow which magnifies the rays and makes them even stronger. Snow blindness occurs when your eyes are overloaded with UV rays, causing temporary loss of vision. If you’re planning a ski trip, part of your gear should include goggles to reflect the sun. Even if it’s just the driveway that needs shoveling (while you dream of a ski trip), putting on a pair of sunglasses will stop the snow blindness.

Sights on Flu Season

Does cold air really make you sick? Despite what your mother told you, the answer is no. It’s just a popular myth. However, more people really do get sick in winter due to a variety of factors. Dry air (both indoors and outdoors), poor ventilation in homes, and interacting with large groups of people (whether going back to school or enjoying holiday gatherings) all contribute to the prevalence of sickness in the wintertime.

What does this have to do with your eyes? Being careful regarding your eye hygiene is a vital step in preventing, getting, or giving the gift of the flu during the holidays. When in public, avoid touching or rubbing your eyes as this can spread germs which lead to illness. The flu virus can survive two hours (or more) on everyday surfaces like doorknobs and table tops. Touching one of these infected items before rubbing your eyes introduces the virus to your immune system very quickly.

Washing your hands often and being aware of when you are touching your eyes goes a long way toward avoiding illness. It’s worth noting you might not feel the need to rub your eyes often if they are properly moisturized.

These eye care tips can help make the winter months more comfortable for your eyes and help you to enjoy the season.

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How to Clean Your Eyeglasses the right way - Smart Vision Labs

How to Clean Your Eyeglasses…the Right Way

Clean Your Eyeglasses – the Right Way

Prescription glasses are very easy to clean. You just take them off and wipe them on your shirt and…

Nope. Stop right there. There is a correct way to clean your eyeglasses and using your clothing is not part of it. That piece of dust you’re attempting to wipe off might be a piece of debris that will scratch your lenses and send you off to get them repaired.

Although glasses might seem like an accessory, they are actually a medical device meant to perform a function for you. As you rely on them to correct your vision, you should learn how to care for and clean them off without damaging them.

First off, your hands should be clean. If you’ve ever tried to wipe a small speck of dust off your lenses right after eating some buttery popcorn at the movies, you know how important this step is. Without clean fingers, you’ll take off a pair of glasses with a small piece of dust on the lens and put on lenses blurry with smudges.

The next step is to rinse your glasses off. Set the water to run lukewarm because heat can damage certain lens coatings. Even if only the lenses are dirty, you should take the opportunity while they’re under the faucet to wash the entire frame.

Next, add a tiny bit of soap to your lenses and frames. Use regular dish soap without any added moisturizers for your hands. Spread the soap all around the glasses. Clean not just the lenses, but the nose pads, arms, and area where the lenses rest in the frame.

Finally, rinse your frames to remove any soap residue. Leftover soap will cause streaks and splotches when you go to dry your glasses off. Soapy smudges aren’t any less bothersome than ones caused by buttered popcorn and your glasses won’t work properly in the presence of either.

To dry your glasses, start by carefully shaking them to get the large droplets of water off. Then rub them gently with a soft, clean, lint-free towel that hasn’t been put in the laundry. If the towel isn’t perfectly clean from things like skin oils, lotions, or fabric softener, it might create more smudges on your clean lenses.

Obviously, you’re not going to have access to a sink all the time. How can you clean your eyeglasses then? If you’re travelling, you should have an eyeglass lens cleaning spray (or pre-moistened wipes) and a microfiber towel. Gently blow on the lenses to remove any surface debris. Once the potentially damaging particles are out of the way, spray your cleaner or use your wipe to clean off the lenses. Use the microfiber cloth to dry them.

If your lenses have a coating, like anti-reflective, make sure your chosen spray or wipe is okay to use on them. Some coatings can be damaged by cleaners so it is important to read the label and choose the right one for your lenses.

The final thing you should have on hand for your newly-clean glasses is their case. If you don’t need your glasses full-time, your case should be nearby when you remove them. If they are protected by the case, they cannot be scratched by random debris or get accidentally pushed off the table you set them on. If you do wear glasses all the time, they should still rest in their case when you go to sleep.

Cleaning your eyeglasses is not only simple, it’s a practical way to keep them looking their best so you can see your best.

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Snow Blindness - What to do and how to prevent it - Smart Vision Labs

What to Know About Snow Blindness

Despite the name, snow blindness can happen even without the snow. The medical term for this condition is photokeratitis and it occurs when your eyes are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, either from the sun or from a man-made source. The UV rays damage the eyes, often on a temporary basis, and cause pain and other symptoms.

Snow blindness is a particular form of photokeratitis that happens when the ultraviolet rays are reflected off ice or snow. Photokeratitis can also occur if the UV rays are reflected off water or sand, or if you stare the sun or watch a solar eclipse without wearing eye protection. If can even happen without sunlight when using a tanning bed or sun lamp without eye protection.

The danger with snow blindness is that you may not know you are irritating your eyes until after the damage has been done. The presence of UV rays does not cause an immediate reaction to the eyes but is more of a cumulative effect with prolonged exposure.

However, the symptoms of snow blindness are obvious and include: eye pain, blurry vision, tearing, swelling, sensitivity to light and sometimes temporary loss of vision. The severity of symptoms you may experience depends upon the length of time your eyes were exposed to the UV rays.

What Exactly Happens?
Think of snow blindness as having sunburn on your eyes. The UV rays affect the cornea, which is the thin, clear layer at the front of the eye. The conjunctiva, the cell layer inside the eyelids and the whites of the eyes are also very sensitive to prolonged exposure to these rays.

You probably already know what you skin feels like with sunburn. Now you can get a clearer picture of snow blindness when you understand the power of UV rays to burn these sensitive areas of the eyes.

How is it Treated?
If there is not too much damage, photokeratitis will heal by itself. Treatment is primarily designed to ease the pain and to prevent the eyes from further exposure to the UV rays. Pain relievers, either over-the-counter or prescribed by an eye doctor, may be taken. Eye drop antibiotics may also be prescribed.

Get out of the sun and put on a pair of sunglasses. Place a cold washcloth over your eyes. Using artificial tears is also helpful. After the eyes are irritated, and if there is no serious damage, the best course of treatment is to give the eyes a chance to heal by protecting them from further exposure.

How can it be Prevented?

Prevention and treatment of snow blindness follows the same principle: block the harmful UV rays. This is easily done with sunglasses or snow goggles. The best type of sunglasses is the wraparound variety. Glacier glasses with their darker lenses and side covers are also highly recommended. Be sure to wear eye protection even on overcast days since the UV rays are not stopped by clouds.

It you are taking certain medications, it may make you more susceptible than others to photokeratitis. These drugs can make you more vulnerable to UV damage: antibiotics, antideperessants, statins, antihistamines, and diabetes medications. If you concerned about whether you are at an increased risk for photokeratitis, ask your eye doctor.

Knowing how snow blindness occurs is the most important first step to preventing an eye condition that doesn’t ever have to happen.

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New Year's Resolution For Your Eye Health - Smart Vision Labs

New Year's Resolutions for Eye Health

It’s almost time to say hello to 2017. Everyone likes to use the energy from ushering in the new year to get some personal goals accomplished. Starting a new hobby, saving more money, and enjoying family and friends are some of the most common ways people try to improve their lives starting January 1st.

Consistently, some of the most popular new year’s resolutions all have to do with fitness. Whether it is staying healthy, getting into shape, or starting a brand new diet, people promise to treat their bodies to a gym membership and green smoothies in the new year.

But losing weight or hitting the gym all come with visible physical benefits (like looking good on the beach in the summertime). How about starting some health goals that no one can see the effects from but you? Taking care of your vision isn’t as popular as building muscle tone, but it is just as, if not more, important to your well being.

Get a vision exam” or “Visit the eye doctor” may not be the most fun New Year’s resolutions, but they might be some of the most important ones you commit to.

Here are some new year’s resolutions for your eyes you might make alongside your diet or exercise goals.

Get a Vision Exam
You can’t fix a problem you can’t see, unless “can’t see” is the problem. In this case, a vision exam should be your first step when crossing off your eye-related resolutions. About 75 percent of Americans need some type of vision correction so you are far from alone. Thanks to advances in technology, vision exams are quick to schedule and easy to complete. Don’t make the same excuses for your poor vision that you did last year.

See Your Eye Doctor
Even when your vision is great, you also might want to pay your eye doctor a visit. If it has been more than 2 years since you last had a checkup, you’re definitely due to give them a call. Perhaps your vision exam showed you needed prescription correction. A trip to your ophthalmologist can make sure it wasn’t caused by an underlying medical condition (and help you with treatment if it was).

Try Some Prescription Sunglasses
By the time summer comes around, you should have both a toned body and a new prescription for glasses or contacts. Before you get to work on your tan, however, you need to make sure your eyes are protected from UV rays you’re exposed to while lounging out in the sun. Picking out a pair of prescription sunglasses is a nice way to accomplish your eye health resolution.

Diet and Exercise
Did you know the most popular new year’s resolution is also good for your eyes? Keeping your body in good shape and eating a balanced diet benefits your body and your eyes. The dark, leafy greens which make up your lunchtime salad are healthy for both your waistline and your retina. Many eye issues come from an overall health concern, like vision loss from diabetes. Regular exercise keeps your whole body in good shape and is linked to lower occurrences of vision problems, like glaucoma.

As you write your resolutions, don’t forget to keep your eyesight goals in sight.

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Using HSA vs FSA for eye care expenses - Smart Vision Labs

HSA vs. FSA for Eye Care

Now is the time to deal with your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Although they are similar in many ways there are a few key points which affect how you can (and should) spend them. If you have money you want to use for vision care or you’re looking to open a new account, here are the similarities and differences between an FSA and HSA.

What’s the Same?
Both the FSA and HSA are tax-free, have a maximum contribution limit, and can be used for eye care expenses.

Tax-Free Saving and Spending
Money put into and taken out of one of these accounts and used toward healthcare (like vision exams or eyeglasses) is tax-free. This allows the same amount of money to actually go farther than an equivalent amount in cash. If you were to use $1,000 from your HSA or FSA to meet your new year’s resolution of taking care of your eyes, all of it will go directly to that goal. You don’t lose any of it to taxation.

Contribution Limits
Only a certain amount of money can be put into each type of account per plan year. In 2016, an individual can put a maximum of $3,350 into their HSA (including any matching their employer might offer). For an FSA, this amount is $2,550.

In 2017, the IRS is allowing a small increase in contribution limits. For self-only coverage, you can add $3,400 to your HSA. With an FSA, the limit also increases $50, for a total of $2,600.

Vision Care
Both HSA and FSA funds can be spent to take care of your vision and maintain your eye health. Vision test and eye exam? Check. Contacts or glasses? Check. Everything from the diagnosis down to contact lens solution are generally allowed expenses for both HSAs and FSAs.

What’s Different?
Only an FSA has a time limit and only an HSA requires you to carry certain insurance.

Time Limit
One of the most important differences between these accounts is that the FSA funds must be spent within the plan year. It is a “use it or lose it” scenario. While some FSAs do have some type of extension, they are limited (if they exist at all). These provisions are either allowing a few hundred dollars to rollover or for an extra month or so to spend it. For an FSA, you should only contribute what you plan to spend in that year.

An HSA does not have a time limit to spend the funds. For this type of account, ideally you contribute the maximum possible so there are more funds to spend if or when you need them.

Eligibility Requirements
HSAs have different eligibility criteria than FSAs. One of these is a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The other is you must be under 65 years old when you open the account. The HDHP needs to be your only insurance plan, although you can still have coverage for dental and vision. However, unlike the FSA, your HSA is not tied to your employer.

Each of the three available types of FSA have varying requirements which must be met. The standards they share are the FSA must be offered by an employer and, because of this, you cannot be self-employed. The type of insurance you have doesn’t affect your ability to have an FSA. You may even be able to have multiple FSAs, depending on your employment.

It is possible to have both an HSA and an FSA, with certain restrictions. If you already have an HSA, you can also start an FSA but it will be limited to only purchases for vision and dental care.

If you have one of these accounts, don’t forget they are meant to be used. Investing now is a way to protect the quality of your vision in the future.

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Corporate Vision Tests with Smart Vision Labs

Why Your New Employees Need Vision Tests Before They Start Training

Every year before schoolchildren start school in September, their parents take them to have vision tests. Those attentive parents are smart. They know that students must . . .

  • Have good distance vision so they can see projections, words and images that are displayed on whiteboards and blackboards.
  • Have corrected near vision that enables them to read books, tablets and computer displays.
  • Be free from headaches and eye strain that result from uncorrected, or incorrectly corrected, vision.

And Yet . . .

When most companies hire new employees, they do not consider the question of vision at all. They send their new hires into training sessions in classrooms without considering that they could have poor vision that could hinder their ability to absorb important information and learn key concepts.

The message? Giving vision tests to new hires is a small investment that can dramatically increase the effectiveness of training new hires.

What Vision Problems Can Limit Training Effectiveness?

Your pre-training vision tests for new employees should include screening for these common problems:

  • Astigmatism – This very common, and very correctible, condition occurs when the shape of the lens in the eye is not perfectly symmetrical or round. That causes distortions – vertical lines may appear heavier than horizontal lines (or vice versa), for example, or a perfect circle may appear out of round. In virtually all cases, this condition can be easily corrected with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • Eye misalignments – These issues are common in school children, but can persist undiagnosed in adults too. Misalignments make it difficult to perform virtually all vision activities and often lead to headaches. Surgery may sometimes be required, but in the great majority of cases other remedies will solve the problem, including exercises and specialized prescription eyeglasses.
  • Myopia (nearsightedness) This condition is diagnosed when an image that comes into the eye is focused in front of the retina instead of clearly onto it. This condition can be easily diagnosed. The good news? It is easily treated with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • Farsightedness – This condition exists when the image that comes into the eye is focused behind the retina. Individuals who suffer from it enjoy good distance vision, but blurry vision when reading or looking at objects that are close. Again, this condition is easy to diagnose during an eye exam, and easy to correct with prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses.

How can you add regular, high-quality vision care to your company’s employee wellness program? Find out how easy it is to run vision tests in your office by downloading the free white paper, The Benefits of Corporate On-site Vision Exams.


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Toys to Avoid Eye Injuries - Smart Vision Labs

Toys to Avoid to Prevent Eye Injuries

‘Tis the season to buy toys and although it’s tempting to buy the coolest, most popular ones simply because everyone else is getting them, take a moment to see through your children’s eyes. Specifically, question whether the toy holds any potential danger and take steps to prevent eye injuries.

The statistics on toy-related eye injuries is eye-opening.  According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, at least half of the injuries related to toys involved the mouth, eyes and ears being most affected. Although most of these injuries were treatable and did not have any permanent effects, the more important issue is that they could have been prevented in most cases.

A quick look at these guidelines can possibly help some avoid some long-term consequences for your children.

Age Appropriate Gifts?

Toy manufacturers are required to list the age groups for which the toys were designed. As a general rule, small children with small toys do not go well together. Young children are safer with larger, blunt-edged playthings to lessen the chances of eye injuries. If the toy can’t fit in the eyes, it will not be likely to damage the eye either.

Beware of Projectile Dangers

Any type of toy that shoots projectiles carries the risk of injuring the eyes. This includes soft darts and even water balloons. Whenever something is shot out of a gun-type toy there is a certain level of unpredictability. Regardless of the aim of the shooter, a number of variables in the environment can cause the projectile to miss the mark and hit the eyes.

Eye injuries from these toys can include anything from irritation to a torn cornea. For the most part, these conditions can be successfully treated but they won’t occur at all if these toys are never used.

Swords, Sabers, and Anything Sharp

The whole don’t-put-anything-sharp-in-your-eyes advice has been around for generations and it’s still spot on. While most children would never dream of poking themselves in the eyes with a sword or saber, the very type of action these toys create may contribute to an injury.

Imagine a child attempting to thwart Darth Vader or some other villain. Their emotions will run high and their sense of safety may run a bit low in the heat of the moment. The result could be painful.

Scratching the eye, also known as corneal abrasion, is one of the most common type of eye injury. This causes considerable discomfort, red and watery eyes, and sensitivity to light. It’s recommended that anyone who has scratched their eyes in this way should see a doctor as soon as possible. While the cornea will heal, there is a higher risk of contracting an infection until the tear is closed.

Perhaps children should leave the sword and saber fights to the professional crime fighters.


Even with an age-appropriate toy that has no sharp edges, eye injuries can occur. Depending on the child’s age, a parent or caregiver can keep their own watchful eyes on the toys and how they are used. Toys can break and crate a hazard or they can be mishandled. Either way, an adult voice of reason can often stop a problem from happening.

Children need toys and with a few common sense approaches to buying them, everyone will play happily ever after.

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common eye problems at work - Smart Vision Labs

Undiagnosed Eye Problems Linked to Workplace Frustrations

Whether your company employs five, 50 or 500 people, chances are that some of them are not performing well or living up to expectations. If you speak with someone in your HR department, the scope of this problem in your company could be greater than you realize.

There are employees who are difficult to manage and train, who consistently get negative job reviews, who seem slow to learn, who cause customer complaints, who have a difficult time working with other people, who have poor safety records, who call in sick a lot, who arrive late to work, who complete work assignments late, who make mistakes, and who seem unhappy or poorly adjusted to their jobs.

Are some people just difficult? It could be. Or it could be that they are experiencing health problems – perhaps some that they are reluctant to talk about – that make it difficult for them to fulfill the requirements of their jobs. And it could be that undiagnosed or uncorrected eye problems are at the root of their workplace problems.

Workplace “Obstacles”

If you search online for articles about the causes of poor worker performance, you will find that some of the most common are heavy workloads, poor bosses, unclear expectations, and burdensome rules and regulations that workers must follow during their jobs. But you will also find that virtually every expert and author who writes about the causes of poor performance also mentions this one . . .

Obstacles that prevent the worker from doing his or her job effectively

Those obstacles are sometimes physical, such as poorly designed working areas or antiquated equipment. Obstacles can also be technical, such as outdated phone systems, and other equipment.  But many obstacles result not from external conditions, but from workers’ ability to meet the demands of their jobs. (Note that workers who are experiencing this problem are prone to self-censor; An employee in your shipping department who is no longer able to lift heavy objects could hesitate to mention that problem, for fear of losing his or her job.) And when employees’ vision is not good enough to allow them to perform their work comfortably and effectively, performance suffers and frustrations follow.

Frustrating, Work-Hindering Obstacles that Are Linked to Eye Problems

Poor, uncorrected vision makes it difficult, frustrating and headache-inducing for employees whose jobs require them to . . .

  • Absorb information from slides and other visuals during training sessions
  • Complete online research
  • Complete required reading
  • Fill in self-assessments and other forms that are used in performance reviews
  • Drive and operate equipment
  • Enter data, purchase orders, sales reports and other information into computer systems
  • Meet and greet customers confidently and provide effective customer service
  • Read, digest and utilize written instructions
  • Take notes in meetings, track work progress and follow up
  • Use company systems such as email programs and company Intranets
  • Write reports, memos and other work documents
  • Use a wide range of modern equipment that can include tablets, credit card charge processors, cash registers, and more

What Is the Solution?

Add regular, high-quality vision care to your company’s employee wellness program. Find out how easy it is to run a vision screening in your office by downloading the free white paper, The Benefits of Corporate On-site Vision Exams.

Wellness Vision Exams 

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Make sure your employees have the best eyesight to perform their jobs? - Smart Vision Labs

Do Your Employees Have the Best Eyesight to Perform their Jobs?

Chances are that your company hires employees with the computer, technical, experiential and other skills that they need to perform their jobs well. But do they possess excellent, corrected vision or the best eyesight that equips them to perform the tasks that are central to their jobs?

Most Jobs Today Require Excellent, Accurate Vision

The Occupational Vision Manual published by the American Optometric Association, states:

“. . . the occupational optometrist should assess and record information regarding each worker’s tasks. The survey must include the specific visual tasks entailed in the essential duties of each position. For example, tasks performed by a lathe operator may include alignment of the cutting tool with the metal or wood stock, observation of the cutting action when the machine is engaged, and setting instrument controls to ensure proper dimensions. A forklift operator may need to move safely throughout a warehouse with a load, to position the load accurately in three dimensions in front of the storage position, and, finally, to move the forklift forward to place the load safely in its precise intended location.”

Make sure your employees have the best eyesight to perform their jobs? - Smart Vision LabsWhat Visual Skills Do Your Employees Need to Do their Jobs?
Let’s look at some visual abilities that are required by some common jobs today – perhaps the same jobs that your employees are performing?

  • Drivers and delivery people need to be able to shift their visual focus between GPS devices (typically located two or more feet away from their eyes) and the road. They need to be able to read road signs, see pedestrians, and recognize potential dangers quickly.
  • Product assemblers need the visual acuity to focus closely and accurately on their work.
  • Computer operators and data entry workers need to be able to read computer screens and documents, and enter data into computer forms.
  • Retail salespeople must be able to read product specifications and documentation, enter orders on tablets or other order-processing equipment, and perform other tasks such as assembling displays and products per printed specifications.
  • Phone representatives and call center employees must be able to accurately negotiate and respond to on-screen menus and forms.
  • Healthcare workers perform many vision-intensive tasks, depending on the nature of their jobs. Medical assistants read documents and enter data into computers. In some cases, they need vision good enough to administer minor medical tests such as EKGs. Insurance billers and insurance coders must read long lists (some onscreen, others printed) of medical conditions and their procedure/condition codes. In dental offices, assistants need good vision to assist in procedures. In fact, good vision is required to perform all healthcare and medical jobs.
  • Security and safety personnel need excellent vision to recognize problems, monitor video surveillance equipment, and take appropriate steps to intervene when problems occur.
  • Restaurant and food service personnel use computer equipment (often in dark surroundings), fill orders correctly, prepare food safely, and follow strict protocols for cooking food safely, cleaning food preparation areas and performing other critical skills.

How can you add regular, high-quality vision care to your company’s employee wellness program? Find out how easy it is to run a vision screening in your office by downloading the free white paper, The Benefits of Corporate On-site Vision Exams.


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What is the right Eyewear for Sports - Smart Vision Labs

What's the Right Eyewear for Sports?

Eyewear for Sports

Do you play sports and wear prescription eyeglasses? Are you trying to figure out what is the best eyewear for sports? Do you ever feel like your glasses are another opponent? Do you worry about them breaking, falling off, or fogging up? Whether you are a casual athlete or are planning to break a world record, you may be able to better concentrate on your goals with a couple alternatives to traditional glasses.

Good vision is essential for performing at your peak. Contacts are an obvious choice for replacing your glasses on the turf or at the gym. They can improve your vision clarity and correct your entire field of view better than traditional glasses. Because they rest right on your eyes, they won’t interfere with the fit or comfort of any protective gear, like helmets or goggles. They won’t fog up or collect water droplets if a rainstorm springs up during your game. If you play a contact sport, they are not as likely to get knocked off (and stepped on) like glasses might.

Have you already tried contact lenses? Most athletes, at some point, opt for contacts over prescription glasses, even if only during sporting activities. If short-term wear appeals to you, daily disposable lenses might be worth trying out. Stick with your prescription glasses until game day when you put contacts in. When the game is over, just get throw them out. You get the benefits of sharper vision and frameless vision correction and avoid having to clean and disinfect your contacts.

But glasses can be athlete-friendly as well. In fact, for some sports, they can be even safer. From baseball to badminton, any sport which involves hitting an object through the air presents a danger to your eyes. Contact sports or those where you are simply involved with many other players also pose a higher risk of injury. Swimming, even though you are by yourself, actually has one of the highest rates of sports-related eye injuries.

Sports goggles or glasses create a barrier between the eyes and hazards, such as other players, flying baseballs, or swinging racquets. Because they are created with sports in mind, they avoid the issues that regular glasses have. Additionally, you can get pairs that are made specifically for a particular sport. Some are meant to fit comfortably inside a helmet while others wrap around and provide UV ray protection from the sides. Prescription swimming goggles will protect your eyes while they are open underwater.

What happens if your prescription isn’t “that bad?” Unfortunately, many athletes who need minor vision correction choose to skip it altogether. But you can still benefit from wearing eyewear during your physical activities. Even if you don’t need vision correction at all, you do need UV protection.

Tinted lenses are another choice anyone can take advantage of. They come in many different colors which allow for better vision in certain conditions. Green tint is optimal for baseball because it increases contrast while keeping the correct color balance. If you’re going skiing on a sunny day, reach for amber or red lenses which work well in bright conditions but do alter the color balance. Yellow and orange lenses filter out blue light to create sharper vision for low-light conditions or indoor sports, like basketball.

Regardless of which way you choose to correct your vision in the sports activity of your choice, be sure to have regular vision exams. You can’t be your best on the playing field if you can’t see your best.

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