Not everyone’s blessed with 20/20 vision, and if you rely on prescription eyewear to see, it becomes all that more important when engaging in fast-moving sports and activities.

But what’s best, wearing contacts or glasses? While the choice is very personal and should be determined with the guidance of your optometrist, we’ve got some tips to help you choose the winner in the epic showdown:

Contacts vs. Glasses: What’s best for fitness?

Benefits of wearing contacts

The case for wearing contacts is clear: They don’t fog up, they enable you to retain your peripheral vision, and they won’t slip off your face when you sweat.

Dr. Clay Mattson, an optometrist with a large contact lens practice in Lexington, Kentucky also points out that for many sports, “Contact lenses are a much safer alternative. Glasses are more likely to cause eye injury than contact lenses if broken from collision with an elbow in a basketball game, a missed header on the soccer field, or a wayward softball.”

Wearing your prescription contacts also allows you to layer any sport sunglasses or goggles on top of your lenses, even while in a pool. This gives you more flexibility when choosing external eyewear, so you don’t feel limited by your prescription.

Possible drawbacks

One of the biggest arguments against wearing contacts during sports is that a contact could fall out in the middle of an activity or game. While this certainly can happen, Dr. Mattson states that “A contact lens that is properly fit by your doctor is unlikely to pop out of the eye, but if a lens is lost, it can easily be replaced by a new one.”

This is especially true given the affordable nature of contact lenses. A year’s prescription of contact lenses typically costs about the same amount as a pair of running shoes, and most prescriptions cover disposable lenses designed to be replaced frequently.

The loss of a single lens is unlikely to cause a major financial setback, and by packing an extra lens or two in your gym bag, you’ll always be prepared for the worst.

The only trick?

Finding the time in the middle of an event or game to replace the lost lens.

If you’re considering purchasing contacts for your child or teen, it’s important to consider whether your child has the maturity to properly manage contact lens use.

Most doctors report that children and teens are actually more likely than adults to follow contact lens instructions, but talk to your optometrist about your decision before filling a prescription. If your child or teen doesn’t remove or replace contacts as prescribed, take away the privilege of use until they’ve matured.

As Dr. Mattson says, “Serious complications can arise from contact lens wear, especially when not [used] according to your doctor’s instructions.”

Benefits of wearing prescription glasses

Not everyone can or will wear contacts. Some eye conditions make contacts an unfavorable option, while other patients simply don’t like the feel or process of wearing lenses.

If you fall into either of these categories, rest assured that you’re still in good hands. Almost every type of sports eyewear can be purchased with a prescription lens, whether you need scuba goggles, ski goggles, sunglasses, or protective sport glasses.

Prescription sports eyewear provides you flexibility when it comes to style, with the ease of simple application and removal.

Possible Drawbacks

Wearing your standard, day-to-day glasses during sports or activity is a bit of a safety crap shoot. While they’re unlikely to break while you glide on the elliptical machine, wearing them during sports or high intensity activities could result in accidental breakage.

Even if they don’t break while you’re wearing them, dropping them on the ground, or stepping on them could result in broken glass – something no one wants. If you do choose to wear glasses rather than contacts, opt for break-resistant sports frames.

Also, keep in mind that glasses frames reduce peripheral vision which, functionally, can affect your performance during team sports or intense race situations.

Most vision insurance plans help cover the cost of standard prescription eyewear, but may not cover the cost of specialty sports glasses. If you’re involved in sports that require safety glasses or goggles, the expense of purchasing special prescription lenses could set you back a pretty penny.

Ask your doctor and your insurance company about coverage options before placing an order.

Making your decision

Your decision to choose prescription glasses or contacts comes down to personal comfort and the advisement of your doctor.

While contacts are the most flexible option for athletes, they aren’t the best solution for everyone.