Soccer, or football as other countries call it, is one of the contact sports played in open field space, requiring you to have good eyesight. Imagine just kicking the soccer ball around without clearly seeing who to pass it to or where the net and goalposts are. The ball will just be flying in any direction.
But the ball is not the only thing your vision should focus on when playing the sport. You have to always look at where your teammates and opposing players are at.
But what if you do not have a perfect vision like everybody else? Does it mean you have to quit playing the sport? Or is there any other way a soccer player with glasses can play the game without wearing their fragile corrective lenses?
FIFA Rules on Glasses
Following the International Football Association Board Laws of the Game, FIFA does not allow any soccer player to wear or use any equipment that may harm themselves or other players in the field. That includes all jewelry and regular glasses.
Why Are Regular Vision Glasses Not Suitable for Soccer?
Soccer is a contact sport where you will have to do a lot of physical movements, including heading a soccer ball or going head to head with another football player. Even professional athletes like Messi get elbowed or headbutted on the face a lot.
I have personally made the mistake of playing soccer with my regular prescription glasses on, and it did not end well for me. Basically, at one point in practice, the ball hit my face. And the next thing I know, everyone was frantically running toward me to check on me.
I remember the first question they asked me, “Did your glasses break?”
Fortunately, for me, there was no broken glass. But if my teammate had kicked the ball harder or reacted differently, it would not have been the case.
Wearing glasses in-game can result in accidents. Your glasses can break when you take a hit on the face, and the shards can get into your eye, or a piece of the broken glass can cut somebody else. Injuries, especially head injuries, are no strangers to football players, making the sport scary enough as it is. You would not want to add an eye injury to the list.
How Do You Deal with Eye Vision Problems as a Soccer Player?
Bad eyesight or vision problems does not mean your football career is at its end. The rules of the game only prohibit you from wearing standard glasses that can break with any impact you can get in the sport. But things have evolved today.
You have access to particular protective eyewear specifically made for contact sports that people with glasses can wear.
These protective sports glasses reduce potential dangers that can occur when you are playing soccer. And these glasses enhance your performance as they allow you to see better and more precisely.
Plus, the lenses are usually from impact-resistant polycarbonate material with UV protection, keeping your eyesight safe from the rays of the sun and the fast-moving objects on the ground.
Wearing contact lenses when playing soccer is allowed and even recommended as no glasses can break and cause eye injury. Wearing contact lenses will enable you even to see your peripheral vision instead of wearing sports goggles, which somehow limits your field of vision.
You can use contact lenses in any contact sports, but not in water sports, as it can cause eye irritation, corneal ulcers, infections, and even loss of vision.
Soccer Athletes Who Wear Glasses
Even the best and well-trained players in the world are not immune to having vision problems. Here are the prominent names in soccer who are no strangers to wearing glasses.
1. Edgar Davids
The midfielder Edgar Davids is a household name when talking about glasses and soccer. He is one of the many players to cruise through the sport with vision problems. At one point in his career, you would think glaucoma would make him stop playing.
But nobody can stop The Pitbull, the nickname he was given due to his grit and passion for winning. Therapy did not work for Davids, which made him undergo an eye surgery that later led him to wear glasses. Eventually, glasses became his signature on the field.
2. Christiano Ronaldo
Even one of the highest-paid players in football has vision problems. Christiano Ronaldo is known to wear contact lenses in all his football games. The Portuguese football player is one of the best players in the world, even with his eyesight problems.
Ronaldo has won four Champions League with Real Madrid, five individual Ballon d’Ors, La Liga, Premier League, and Euro 2016 with Portugal even when wearing contact lenses.
3. Jérôme Boateng
The defender is known for his impeccable style, especially with his glasses collection. But in-game, Jerome Boateng wears contact lenses to help him see and play better on the field. Despite his eyesight, the German defender has won a World Cup and Bundesligas.
4. Mario Balotelli
Italian soccer player Mario Balotelli is a professional athlete who wears contact lenses in-game, even wearing a colored one to World Cup 2014. Balotelli has undergone laser eye surgery to fix his vision, but he isn’t afraid to still use contact lenses when needed.
5. Lilian Thuram
Lilian Thuram enjoys wearing chunky black-rimmed glasses off the field but wears contacts in the field of play. The former French defender has had a glittering two-decade run in football. He was a vital player in the team of France who won the World Cup in 1998 on home soil and won the European Championships two years later.
Wearing sports goggles may not always look chic on the field of play. But even soccer coaches think they reduce risks to the players while helping them perform and play better with a better vision. In soccer, you can’t avoid harsh impacts, but you most definitely can avoid unnecessary injuries with the right gears.
So, when you decide to wear your standard glasses even for just one practice, remember that it’s better to sit out one practice than to sit out the whole season.