If your child has always loved to swim, you may have enjoyed watching this interest blossom into what could potentially be a scholarship-earning career path. However, if your child has recently been diagnosed as nearsighted (or farsighted), he or she may struggle with the decision of whether to wear glasses or contacts (or neither) while in the pool. Swimming without any vision correction could put your child at risk of colliding with another swimmer (or the wall), resulting in injury; on the other hand, using contacts in lieu of more unwieldy glasses could irritate your child's eyes if they become exposed to chlorine. Read on to learn more about the factors to consider when helping your child to decide the best course of action.
What should you consider when deciding whether glasses or contacts is the best decision for your child?
In many cases, a combination of glasses and contacts will be the best solution for your child -- but evaluating when to use glasses and when to rely on contact lenses instead can be a challenge even for those who have had some sort of vision correction for years.
You'll first want to consider your child's schedule. If he or she is planning to wear contacts (or glasses) at school but has swimming practice early in the morning or immediately after the last bell, switching between contacts and glasses before and after practice can slow him or her down, especially early in the process when putting in contacts can still be challenging. It may be better to simply adapt to swimming with glasses (or contacts) rather than making this switch several times per day.
You'll also want to take your child's general responsibility into account. If you're certain your child can be trusted to handle his or her contacts responsibly and wash his or her hands before putting them in (or taking them out), you may want to put this decision into his or her hands; however, if you're worried that your child will quickly contract an eye infection by not washing hands or not cleaning a contact lens inadvertently dropped onto the floor, you may want to limit his or her options to glasses instead.
What are some ways to minimize the impact of vision correction on swimming?
If your child is destined to become a competitive swimmer, it may be worthwhile to invest in some vision-correction gear specifically designed for the swimmer. One of the most effective options is a set of prescription goggles. Like glasses, these goggles are designed to correct vision -- but unlike glasses, these goggles can improve peripheral vision and won't rattle around while swimming.
If you're worried about your child's ability to handle glasses or contacts in the pool, prescription goggles can be a good alternative.