Wearing Contact Lenses When Running: Quick Guide
As we turn the corner from winter into spring our thoughts naturally gravitate toward outdoor activity, including running. Whereas we may have spent the past 4 or 5 months confined to the treadmill at the gym it’s now time to head back out and resume our routine of running by the river and through the park. For some, warm weather means more than a daily jog. It signals a return to competitive running. If you wear contacts, however, running can present a few issues that you should be aware of. So here are 4 tips for running with contacts.
Tip 1: Relax. You Can Run While Wearing Contacts
Let’s get the heavy lifting out of the way first. The answer to the fundamental question of whether you can run while wearing contacts is “Yes”. Contact lenses actually represent a real step up in convenience for runners. Where glasses need constant adjustment and often wind up falling off while you run contacts stay put and provide you a clear view of the wonders (and hazards) around you. This is particularly important if you like to run on less than perfectly smooth park trails. Also, since contacts don’t steam up and don’t have frames that can create blind spots they’re actually much safer to run with than glasses.
Tip 2: Wear the Right Contacts
A lot of contact lens wearers who run prefer to use daily contact lenses. And this is actually a good idea. Why? Because running while wearing contacts can produce protein buildup on the surface of the lenses. This is most typically seen as cloudy patches on the contact surface. These cloudy patches cause discomfort and blurred vision; something you really don’t want when running outdoors. By using contacts that are disposed of at the end of the day you ward off the potential for protein buildup. Soft contact lenses are also preferable to hard contacts because they do a better job of preventing sweat from leaking behind the contact and causing irritation.
Tip 3: Avoid Getting Water in Your Eyes
It’s important not to get water in your eyes while wearing contacts. In fact it’s recommended that you not wear contact lenses while swimming. Or if you do, that you wear protective watertight goggles over them. Getting water in your eyes can cause your contacts to become dislodged, which will have a negative effect on your vision. In addition, water behind your contacts that contains even microscopic impurities can lead to infections. If you are a triathlete who needs to include swimming as a regular part of your training make sure you wear protective goggles. And even if you stick only to the road avoid throwing water in your face to cool down. If water does wind up getting in your eyes make sure to dispose of your contacts as soon as possible after running.
Tip 4: Bring Glasses Just in Case
While no one wants to think they’re going to have a problem when they go out for a run things happen that we can’t anticipate. For instance, if you go out for a run in the morning and it rained the night before there may be large puddles on the side of the road. If a car plows through one of these and soaks you (and your contacts) with dirty gutter water you’re going to need to remove your contacts as quickly as possible and flush your eyes to stave off possible infection. So make sure you always have a bottle of artificial tears and backup glasses in your fanny pack when you hit the road. That way you’re prepared for any eventuality.