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If you’re a runner that has 20/20 vision, then you’ve got nothing to worry about but the road ahead and getting the miles under your belt. However, for people who wear contact lenses, running can present a few issues and things you need to consider.
To help, we asked Sujata Paul, Clinical Lead and Contact Lens Optician at Lenstore, an online contact lens retailer, for five things every runner that wears contact lenses needs to know.
1. To start, you can wear contact lenses
The fact is that many people who wear glasses choose to wear contact lenses instead because glasses can get in the way. The motion of running and sweat means glasses steam up and drop down your face leaving runners having to constantly adjust them.
Whatever you do, don’t choose not to wear either. Particularly if you’re running down a dirt path with loose stones, you need to be able to see clearly. Wearing contacts is completely fine for running and a great alternative.
2. Avoid getting water or sweat in your eyes
When running you can often work-up a sweat and it can be tempting to pour water over your head. However, if you’re wearing contact lenses and the water gets in your eye it could dislodge your contact lenses and affect your vision. The water can also be a catalyst to eye infection when wearing contact lenses.
Try wearing a headband to avoid sweat getting into your eyes too. Sweat can be incredibly irritating for your eyes as it increases how quickly natural tears evaporate leading to dry eyes. This could make you want to rub them, risking introducing bacteria to your eyes from your hands or the sweat itself could also be harmful.
3. Wear the right kind of contact lenses
There’s two things to look out for when choosing contact lenses for running. The first is that the lenses are soft, and the second is that they’re daily disposables. Soft lenses allow more oxygen to get to the eye, something that’s important when running, and helps to keep sweat out of your eye.
Daily disposables are recommended as they don’t get a protein build-up which you can often find on longer wear contact lenses. This protein build-up can cause blurred vision which isn’t ideal when you’re running and need to see clearly.
4. Hydrate before you set off
It’s important to hydrate while running but especially important if you wear contact lenses. Running can leave you dehydrated and suffering from dry eyes due to sweating more and your natural tear drying-up. This is often exacerbated by contact lenses themselves.
Before you run, make sure to drink water, use eye drops and wear a headband when running to capture any excess sweat. You could even take portable eye drops with you in case you feel yourself needing to top-up on route.
5. Take it easy when getting started
The main thing is to enjoy yourself while running. If you’re new to wearing contact lenses, getting used to them while doing something like running can feel a little more daunting.
Take it easy on your first few runs, and don’t feel that you need to keep going if you’re feeling discomfort or anything like that. To make you feel comfortable and at ease, it’s a good idea to bring eye drops with you and your glasses in case you’re struggling to get used to wearing the lenses.