Is It Safe To Wear Contacts While Snowboarding?


When you hit the snow-covered mountains for a snowboarding holiday, you need to check a few things off a safety checklist, headgear, protective clothing, and so forth. Should you be visually impaired, you should wear your contacts when navigating down an icy mountain; it’s the safe thing to do! Seeing clearly when boarding down a slope is an essential requirement when strapping yourself in a snowboard.

For many visually impaired snowboarders worldwide, wearing contacts is the most comfortable way to help them see when maneuvering down the snow-covered mountains. Contacts are safe to wear, include UV protection, and paired with a pair of decent goggles, will make for a safe visual ride. 

Flying down a mountain on a board strapped to your feet is not considered the safest sport in the world but undoubtedly one of the most adrenaline-filled. For your safety, and also the safety of the people you are sharing the mountain with, it is imperative that you have a clear vision. If wearing contacts is not your thing, you can look into prescription goggles and wearing ventilated goggles over your regular glasses.

Can You Wear Contacts While Snowboarding?

Being out in the snow is fun, especially when the sun’s out. However, did you know that the snow can reflect up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays on a typical sunny winter day? The reflecting light can damage your eyes and causetemporary snow blindness, as the snowboarders commonly refer to this lack of sight.

When you participate in any snow sport or activity, such as skiing or snowboarding, it’s best to wear goggles. Irrespective of your eyes sight is perfectly operational, or if you wear glasses or contacts, you should invest in a pair of goggles that offers UVA and UVB protection.

Wear a pair of snowboarding goggles that combine the following:  

  • UV protection
  • Polarized lenses
  • Photochromic lenses
  • Mirrored lenses

Contacts vs. Glasses

Whether you have to wear glasses or contacts to see correctly, you will have to choose between the two to safely snowboard. Some people choose glasses over contacts, and vice versa, each to its own. However, should you be comfortable wearing both, there are some factors to consider when deciding what you wear on the mountain.

When you choose to go the contacts route when leaving for your snowboarding adventure, it is essential to pack in a prescribed bottle of eye drops for your specific contacts.

High altitudes tend to dry out the eyes and lenses, so being proactive in this regard will save you from any discomfort while having fun on the slope. Another important tip is to never insert or remove contacts without cleaning your hands, as dirty hands in your eye area can lead to infections!

The benefits of wearing contacts, as opposed to glasses, are the following:

No Fog

Glasses tend to fog up when we are breathing or sweating on them. When vapor hits the glasses, it turns to condensation on the lenses. Condensation is a common problem when it’s cold outside, like on a snowy mountain. When it’s raining or snowing outside, expect your vision to be impaired. When wearing contacts, you don’t have to worry about them fogging up or impairing your vision.

Supports An Active Lifestyle

Let us be honest and get straight to the point. Glasses are not the most comfortable or stable item to wear when being active. Any physical activity while wearing them can become a case of trying to keep them on your head instead of focusing on the physical activity. Any sudden head movement will send them flying!

Wearing contacts allow you to see better, and you don’t have to worry about losing your sight every few minutes. Also, sweat from physical activity won’t fog up your contacts; it will fog up your glasses, though.

Wider Field Of Peripheral Vision

Contacts will give you a broader and clearer view when compared to wearing glasses. In addition, seeing that contacts fit around the curvature of your eyes allows for better depth perception, excellent peripheral vision, and a more natural view. All things that would make your trip down the mountain so much safer!

Less Obstruction Of Vision 

Having a frame in front of your eyes obstructs your vision to a degree. This obstruction is not ideal when navigating a slippery mountain with fellow moving people on it. Contacts eliminate this obstruction of your vision.

No Distortion Of Vision

What you see through your glasses compared to outside of them is often referred to as distorted vision. Contacts allow you to see the whole picture as it is and with no element of distortion.

No Pain

Some glasses are pretty bulky and a real pain to wear. Many people who wear glasses complain about pain on the pressure points above the ear. This pain is caused by the frame and starts to hurt after wearing glasses for an extended period. Wearing contacts will not cause you to experience this pain.

What Alternative Eyewear Options Are Available When Snowboarding?

Now that we have discussed why it’s perfectly safe to wear contact lenses when snowboarding, where does this leave you if you are anti-contacts? Luckily there are a few alternative options that we can look at and get your eyes focused on the snow.

OTG Ski Goggles

OTG stands for “Over the Glass” and is a popular big snowboarding goggle that is made to be worn over your prescribed glasses. These goggles provide ample space for the glasses inside of them. In addition, it allows the user to wear their glasses inside the goggles with the help of temple cutouts that accommodate the shape of the glasses and relieve pressure on the temples. This setup can be complicated as it incorporates a goggle strap, a helmet, and two frames resting on your face area.

Prescriptive Lens/Goggle Inserts

These are wide frame lenses that you mount on the back of the goggle lens, taking away your prescription glasses and replacing them with lenses that are a bit further from your face. Prescriptive lenses and goggle inserts lead to no more constant readjusting of your spectacles, no more fogging, and no more pain from pressure points on the temples.

Once inserted, these lenses help with peripheral vision and provide clarity and 20/20 vision to the user. They are a comfortable fit for those people who don’t want to wear contacts. In addition, they are much more efficient when it comes to preventing fog accumulation. The lenses are generally coated with an anti-fog layer.

Prescription Goggles

This option is often your most expensive and hard-to-find option. First, you will have to find the best manufacturer to make a pair of specific goggles for you, according to your eyesight requirements. These unique goggles become your glasses or contacts. The only problem with these is that you will lose your sight when you take them off.

Conclusion

 When you are wearing contacts while snowboarding, it is considered safe and a relatively easy option for visually impaired snowboarders. Practicing due care when inserting or removing them will keep your eyes safe. Remember to lubricate your eyes often as the higher altitudes on the mountain may dry them out. All will be safe and visually fun if you follow these easy guidelines.

If you prefer not to wear them, and glasses are your go-to when snowboarding, there are a few alternative options that you could look at, like prescriptive lenses or goggle inserts, even getting one tailor-made for you.

References:

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/goggles.html

Glasses or Contacts? 9 Reasons Why You Should Be Wearing Contacts (theeyepros.com)

OTG Goggles: A Thing of the Past | SportRx

Ryan Conner

Outdoor enthusiast with several years of snowboarding experience in the winters and watersports activities all summer. Living within 3 hours of 4 well-known ski resorts, I get plenty of board time from Nov-March every season.

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