The four eyed athlete

Image description: nerdy black glasses

There are many, many  reasons I’m not a pro athlete. Let me count the ways. Glasses are just one of them. But I am aware that they get in the way of even my recreational athletic activities.

My eye problems are complicated. You can actually read about them at the disabled philosophers blog.

Short version: My eyesight is pretty good really and my middle distance sight is just fine. It’s long distance and print I struggle with the most. But I can’t wear contacts so I am always trying to make the call whether to go without or to wear glasses. For soccer I wear them but I wear an older pair so I won’t worry too much about heading the ball and killing pricey frames.  For cycling I have special glasses, of course. And Aikido, it’s on and off. I take them off for rolling drills and techniques that involve throwing.

The Warrior Dash was a source of anxiety. Mud and glasses don’t mix well. But then neither does scaling obstacles without corrective lenses! In the end I wore my prescription sunglasses and I’m glad I did. I had to scrape mud off a few times but I did need them to navigate some of the trickier obstacles.

Rain is just awful for the active glasses wearer. I wish they came with wipers on some bike rides. And I’ve had soccer matches I’ve had to sit out because of rain.

How about you? Are you a fellow four eyed athlete? When do you wear them? When not? How do handle this quandry?

17 thoughts on “The four eyed athlete

  1. Yup, been wearing glasses since 1st grade and can’t wear contacts (can’t get them in my eye). I’ve always wanted sunglasses with a Rx, but when I was younger they were too expensive. Now that they’re slightly more affordable (still really expensive), my eyes are too bad for them!!

    So, I just have my glasses with transitions. I used to have an older pair to wear while riding, but they’re too old and too damaged. I’m going to need a new pair soon.

    I’m considering asking them to just try to get me the sunglasses anyway and reduce the Rx…we’ll see!

    If not, then I think I will save up for two pairs: one for riding and one for normal use. I don’t like the nose pieces for regular wear, but they are really important for me to have while cycling so they stay on my face.

    1. The easiest sort are regular sunglasses that your prescription sits in behind. It’s super nice because you can have lots of different colored lenses without the expense. You just swap them. Mine are made by Rudy project but adidas make them too. I also only have the distance prescription in them…that also cuts down on expense.

      1. I’ve been looking for a solution for a while now. I have prescription sunglasses, but haven’t been able to find a style with large lenses or a wrap-around to protect me from side glare and from road grit. I have severe astigmatism that makes contact lenses difficult if not impossible to use (the one type that might work is $600/pr); I’ve looked for the Rx-compatible cycling sunglasses like you describe, but I can’t find any that fit because I have a very narrow face. Even the kind of sunglasses that fit over prescription glasses (Fitovers, Cocoons, etc) are too big.

        So basically I’m now looking at children’s sport frames that are a bit like goggles, but do at least provide grit protection, and trying to figure out if I can afford photochromic lenses for them. I’m going to look like such a dork.

        Oh, and of course my optical plan specifically excludes sunglasses, because nobody ever needs those for reasons other than vanity and fashion, do they?

  2. Yep! My eyesight isn’t too horrible – near-sighted, but I can make out shapes and stuff, just can’t read things from a distance (like street signs). My only real sport at the moment is running, so it’s really not a problem to wear glasses. (I’ve just never wanted to try contacts). Although sometimes in the rain it’s a nuisance.

    In the fall I plan to get into swimming and triathlons – are prescription goggles a real thing (I’ve only seen them in movies)? I think I’d be ok in a pool without corrective lenses, but in an open water swim in a race, I’d be pretty nervous!

    1. Yes, there are prescription goggles. I just wear regular goggles but I’ve been tempted too.

    2. If you know your prescription, you can get a pair of goggles off of Amazon for WAY cheap. My vision is pretty poor and mine make me feel much more confident navigating from locker room to pool.

  3. I used to be a glasses wearer, until I finally had enough money to get lazer eye surgery to correct my nearsightedness 2 years ago. I am so glad I did this. I’ve never been good with contact lenses, so I was usually doing activities in glasses. Most of the time, they were no more than a minor irritation (a few times they came off during a pole class and went flying across the room, but that wasn’t a frequent occurance).

    When I ran my marathon in glasses, it was raining, so I took them off. I could still see well enough not to run into anything, but I found myself getting a wicked headache during the race, and around KM30 to KM35, my vision started getting really wonky and wobbly, almost as if I was seeing the world through the surface of a body of water that was being moved like waves. I put them back on as it had stopped raining and it got better.

    A year after that, I did leg 4 of the Death Race, an ultramarathon/relay in the mountains around Grande Cache, Alberta. Here again, I think my glasses hurt me. I had a terrific time for the uphill part of leg 4 (the first third is more of a hike than a run), and not bad going down. My early check in lead to my team waiting for me at the exchange point for a long time. Just as it got dark it started to rain lightly. I’d never trained in the dark, so I wasn’t quite ready for that, but worse, my glasses were fogging up from my breath as the temperature dropped.

    After a kayaking workshop, where I couldn’t wear my glasses, that was very headache-inducing, I got irritated enough to go for a consult for the surgery and was happy to be a good candidate. I considered the surgery a 30th birthday present to myself.

    Now, I’m realizing that a number of other activities (athletic or not) are so much easier without glasses because my peripheral vision is better. When I’m in a pole or aerial class, I’m more confident being higher up in the air. When I’m driving, or riding my motorcycle, I find it easier to look around me and shoulder check quickly. I actually liked the way my face looked better when I was glasses wearer, but the benefits have been so great that I’m really happy I did this. I just wish I could have afforded to do it earlier in my life. I realize it isn’t a possibility for everyone, but it made a huge difference for me.

    Also, reading over my post, I worry it sounds rather ableist. To clarify: for myself, I’m pleased to be a cyborg, but others may make other choices, and those are just as legitimate.

    1. Great that it worked for you but you’re right, not an option for everyone. My eye condition can be corrected with cornea transplant surgery but that’s quite a few years off for me. Laser surgery won’t fix it.

  4. My prescription is roughly -6 in each eye. I can barely walk around my flat without specs or contact lenses, let alone do anything outside. It does limit what I can do, but prescription goggles for swimming are a fantastic invention

  5. I play softball, and they call off games if there is lightening. That being said, a hat with a good sized bill makes a big difference in visibility when it is raining. I’m hoping that I can afford lasek as a gift to myself when I turn 40 in a few years.

  6. I’ve never gotten into swimming despite trying, because it’s just too much sensory deprivation for me.

  7. 1. There are squeegees for bike gloves (e.g. aerostich; and some fancy motorbike gloves come with them along the thumb or index finger dorsal-side). Perhaps a non-stick coating treatment would help (at least for the water).

    2. Has anyone experience (or recollections of research) on the Bates Method for improving eyesight (via training drills)? The neatest thing I learned about eyes is that ‘prescription’ changes by time of day, among other factors.

  8. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to wear contacts since I was a teenager, because it means this has never been an issue for me. I think I may actually be at a point where I could be eligible for laser eye surgery, which I really want to do because it would make swimming a lot easier for me.

    I think a lot about how grateful I am for corrective eye technologies, because I am pretty sure that without them, Mother Nature would have booted my ass out of the gene pool a long time ago. Once I went camping, and I had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I couldn’t find my glasses, so I decided to go without. It wasn’t until I found myself in the middle of pitch black woods that I realized I had made a seriously wrong turn somewhere. Yikes.

  9. I wore contacts for 40 years, but had to give them up 2 years ago after my cornea was damaged and contacts became impossible to wear. I participate in Crossfit and only need my glasses to read the workouts on the board because I’m nearsighted. After I read the workout, I put the glasses away. I live in south Louisiana and wearing glasses in the summertime is the pits because they are always slipping or fogging up in our high humidity.

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