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How to look after your eyes when playing sport

Old clichés may suggest that referees need to get their eyes checked when making blatantly incorrect decisions. However, many professional players across a variety of sports need vision correction themselves, and use corrective contact lenses to aid their long and fruitful sporting careers

It’s evident that, in some sports, using contact lenses isn’t possible, or indeed necessary. For example, it is best practice to remove your lenses completely when you are swimming, to avoid them slipping out of your eyes, or becoming contaminated by water, which can potentially cause serious infections. When you go swimming, it is advisable to wear protective goggles, to stop the water from coming into contact with your eyes and making them feel sore.

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Your body is a temple

Before you leave the house and head merrily on your way to your next adventure on the sports field, pause and take a step back to think about your diet. When that wayward ping pong ball is hurtling towards you, a quick dive for cover or an instinctive arm flashing across the face will protect you, but a good healthy diet will look after you internally.

Vital vitamins and antioxidants can reduce the risks of macular degeneration and lower the risk of eye infections, ensuring that, the next time that pesky ball comes whizzing towards you, you can count on your sharp vision to avoid it.

Eating a healthy mixture of fruit and vegetables should also be part of your healthy lifestyle. Focusing on foods such as carrots, which are packed with antioxidant beta carotene, and eating plenty of vitamin C from brightly coloured peppers and citrus fruits, will help protect your eyes from age related macular degeneration (AMD). Omega3 fatty acids found in fish are also excellent for your eye health, providing your eyes with defence against dry eyes and glaucoma.

Slip, slop, slap and wrap

Golf ballIn light of the recent heat wave that has been scorching the British shores, it seems only right to remind you about the Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap campaign, to make sure you keep it at the forefront of your mind when you’re playing sports outdoors.

This international campaign has been around since the 1980s, but is just as prominent today as it was then, advising to Slip on a shirt, Slop on the sun cream, Slap on a hat, and Wrap on your sunglasses to make the most of your outdoor experiences.

Wraparound sunglasses with full UV protection are ideal for sports: not only will they be more secure on your face when you’re exercising, but they will also give your eyes extra protection on the sides, and prevent dust or other unidentified fragments from entering them. Obviously, depending on what your favourite sport is, you might not always be able to cover all the areas suggested, but with sports such as golf, fishing or cricket you can certainly follow the full routine.

When taking part in other sports, where it’s not possible to wear sunglasses or a hat to shade your eyes, try avoiding direct exposure to sun rays between 10am and 4pm, when the sun is at its strongest. The general rule is that, if your shadow looks shorter than you are, then the sun’s rays are at their peak, and it is essential to protect yourself by seeking shade or by wearing a brimmed hat to shield your eyes.

By following these pieces of practical advice, you’ll be able to enjoy your sporting lifestyle to the maximum.