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Should You Go Running With Glasses Or Without?

You lace up your running shoes and expect to have a focused run where you can relax and find your stride.

But if you’re a runner who doesn’t have 20/20 vision, not wearing your glasses could mean that you mistake a squirrel for a wild beast or possibly collide with another runner. This is a distraction that you can do without!

While some runners turn their glasses in for contact lenses, there are runners who may not be able to wear contact lenses. They may find that their eyes are too dry or the shape of their eye makes it difficult to get contact lenses that fit comfortably.

Running in glasses may be a bit inconvenient. If you’re wondering if you should run with your glasses, we’re weighing up the pros and cons to help you decide.

Pros of Running with Glasses

Avoid Running Obstacles

When you run with glasses, they won’t just help you see better, further, and in more detail, but they will reduce your risk of injury. You won’t have to worry about spraining your ankle because you didn’t see the curb, or run into a street sign accidentally.

Convenience

If you frequently wear glasses in your day-to-day life, it’s easier to just wear glasses when you run. You may own and occasionally wear contact lenses, but if you find them to be a hassle, then wearing glasses while you run is much more convenient.

Sun Protection

Glasses—especially prescription glasses—have photochromic lenses that provide UV protection. This can reduce the risk of cataracts, pinguecula or corneal sunburn—photokeratitis—and wrinkles. While wrinkles can add to your charm, UV rays can cause irreversible damage to the eye which could be more of a challenge to live with.

Wind and Dust Protection

Your eyes are more protected from wind, dust particles, and debris when wearing glasses. If you get a speck of dust in your eye when you’re wearing contacts, it can work its way under the lens.

Air Circulation

When you’re running, you may not be able to clean your contacts thoroughly, which increases your risk of infection.

Runners may find that their eyes feel dry and irritated after a run, as contact lenses reduce the amount of oxygen that reaches the eye, whereas glasses allow for air circulation.

Better for Sensitive Eyes

Glasses are healthier for you, as you won’t have to touch your eyes as much, which reduces the chances of getting an infection.

If you have sensitive eyes, glasses won’t aggravate the eye the way contact lenses could.

Cons of Running with Glasses

Uncomfortable

Some runners may be self-conscious about running with their glasses, as they may think it’s not attractive or that it makes them look quirky.

Runners then also have to contend with glasses that bounce up and down or move while they run. This can leave runners feeling like they may actually lose their glasses while on a run, and there is a chance of this happening.

Sweat and Fogging

If you do have glasses that provide a snug fit, then you may be distracted by the bead of sweat that rolls down the lens! This means having to remove your glasses while trying not to run into anything, to wipe the sweat away on your shirt.

Then runners still have to contend with humidity and their own body temperature, which can cause their glasses to fog up. This then has them removing the glasses to clean the lenses again.

Night Running

If you run at night, runners with glasses can easily be distracted by lights that reflect off of the lenses. This can get worse and cause confusion if you’re running in an area that has a lot of light sources, which can turn clear vision blurry.

This increases your chance of getting hurt, as you may run into something or trip and sprain an ankle.

Tips for Wearing Glasses While Running

There are a few things that you can do that will help make running with glasses more comfortable and allow you to focus on your run.

You can get a pair of prescription glasses that have light, stylish frames and that will be contoured to have a snug fit on the bridge of your nose. The lenses can be coated with anti-scratch, anti-fogging, anti-reflective or UV protection coatings.

You would need to speak to your optometrist so that your glasses best fit your needs and eliminate the need for you to wipe your glasses every few miles.

If you already have glasses and you’re not ready to get a new pair, then you get an anti-fogging spray that you can apply to your glasses. You can try one of the following anti-fog sprays:

To prevent the glasses from moving while you run, you can slide silicone anti-slip ear hooks onto the arms, or you can use a sports adjustable strap.

You could also use a bandana in summer and a beanie in winter to help keep your glasses in place.

Having to constantly wipe your brow or brush the sweat away from your eyes can be just as frustrating as glasses that fog up. To keep the sweat from dripping into your eyes, you could use a headband or a cap.

Tips for Running Without Glasses or Contacts

Running without glasses or contacts comes with its own risks. It’s always best to pick a route that you know very well.

You could always head down to a track that’s close to you—indoor or outdoor running tracks—that you’re familiar with, or where you can clearly see the track and any obstacles that could be in your way.

If you want to run on the asphalt, choose streets where traffic may not be allowed, or head to your local park if it has a path that you’re familiar with.

You could also run with a running buddy, who can help guide you around obstacles or potential hazards. This would be one of the safest options, next to running on a treadmill in the comfort of your own home.

Alternatives to Glasses

Depending on the level of your vision, there are a few alternatives that you may want to try. You could try using contact lenses. Surgery may also be an option, and as technology advances, more options become available, like LASIK surgery or Implantable Contact Lenses.

Implantable Contact Lenses are similar to normal contact lenses, but instead of being on the surface of the eye; they’re surgically inserted into the eye between the natural lens and iris.

These lenses remain in your eye for a longer period, and they don’t irritate your eye like contact lenses that are on the surface of the eye.

The Wired Runner