- Endurance Sports
When you’re taking part in any endurance sport – such as long hours of cycling or running – it’s best to forgo your contact lenses or you may encounter sudden discomfort in the eye when it gets too dry. Dr Lee Sao Bing of Shinagawa Eye Centre cautions that eyes can even become dry enough that the contact lens can get dislodged. It’s best to opt for glasses, or wear dailies contact lenses as they tend to be less drying. Remember to regularly apply eye drops to increase lubrication when you can too.
According to Dr Lee, the number one thing you have to remember if you are going swimming, scuba diving, or doing any other water sports is this: Do not wear your contact lenses to swim. “Germs from the water can get lodged underneath the lens and cause a bad cornea infection,” he explains. He suggests using powered goggles instead. “Even for those with no vision issues, wearing goggles are also recommended because they can protect the eyes. This is even more important if you are swimming in a lake or the sea as the bacteria and parasites there can infect the eye. Such eye infections can be severe and very difficult to treat.”
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to ensure your eyes are safe during contact sports like boxing or mixed martial arts (MMA). Wear the appropriate guards and seek immediate medical attention if your eye gets injured during a session.
If you like to hit the road during the daytime, always wear good quality sunglasses, says Dr Lee. Look for sunglasses that block 100 per cent of UV rays, and choose close-fitting wraparound styles that help to block light rays coming in from the sides. This is especially important if you spend many hours in the sun.
Even if your contact lenses block UV rays, you still need sunglasses. UV-blocking contacts shield only part of your eyes under the lens. UV rays can still damage the conjunctiva (white of the eye) and other tissues not covered by the contact lens. Wearing sunglasses protects these delicate tissues from UV damage. It is also a good idea to wear a cap when the sun is directly overhead to block off the UV light entering the eyes from the top.
It is very important to protect your eyes with an appropriate pair of goggles while out on the ski slopes. It only takes about half a day of exposure to strong sunlight in a snowy landscape to develop “snow blindness,” says Dr Lee.
He goes on to say that the amount of ultraviolet light on a sunny day while out skiing or snowboarding can damage your eyes in a short period of three to 12 hours of exposure. Snow blindness is like a burn to the eye. Your eyes will be red and irritated and vision will be affected. If you experience this, see an eye doctor as soon as you can. You will be asked to use lots of lubricants and antibiotic eye drops.
Text: Dawn Chen/Shape Singapore