Can You Box Or Fight With Contact Lenses? What You Need To Know


Boxing is a combat sport in which two people, usually wearing protective hand gloves and even headgear, throw punches at each other for a predetermined amount of time in a boxing ring.

These punches more often than not come in contact with the face; hence it is unthinkable to wear prescription glasses in the case of an impaired vision.

Wearing glasses is thus definitely and certainly not an option as your face is a constant target. The best possible solution is to wear contact lenses, but this comes with its associated problems.

You should not wear while sparring or fighting if at all possible however it is allowed in wearing contact lens, to a great extent, is allowed in amateur boxing circles. This can also be applied to other sports and Martial Arts such as Muay Thai, Kick Boxing, MMA and any other sport that allows blows to the face or head.

Fighters such as Larry Holmes and Joe Fraizer have both said in the past that they have worn contact lenses while fighting however, it is often not a good idea to do so as it can cause damage to your eye or severely damage your eyesight.

Larry Holmes

It’s worth noting that there may be rules against participating in a pro fight while wearing a contact lens.

However, most professional boxing associations prohibit the use of a contact lens while fighting, but they can be utilized as a great training aid.

Be mindful of such rules and be prepared not to participate in fights endorsed by associations that do not approve of its use.

It is of utmost importance to be acquainted with some of the risks associated with having a contact lens while engaged in a boxing bout as it is paramount to know these risks before stepping into the ring whether to participate in a real fight or for training.

However, knowledge of such risks prepares you mentally on how to act when faced with such situations.

Here are common risks you’ll encounter when sparring, training, or boxing in the ring (amateur level) with a contact lens.

1. The risk of losing the contact lens

There is always the risk of losing one or both of your contact lenses when you take a hit to the face.

The probability of this happening is quite high. When your contact lens comes crashing down on the floor, there is no time to go down on all fours to find the stray contact lens.

It is not advisable to put a stray contact lens back into your eyes as they’re meant to be sterile.

2. The risk of contact displacement

There is a fundamental problem with contact lens and boxing. There’s always the threat of displacing the contact lens if you get any pressure on the face/eyes.

This can be frustrating and also very uncomfortable. Such displacements can lead to a condition medically referred to as cornea abrasion. Under a considerable degree of force, your lens can even slip further into your eyes and become more difficult to dislodge.

Under such circumstances, your opponent is bound to have you at a disadvantage, and you are most likely to emerge the loser.

3. The threat of contracting infections

You are most likely tempted to touch your eyes and attempt to salvage the situation by taking several punches to the face and feeling your contacts occasionally slip out of position.

But your boxing gloves have made repeated contacts with your opponent’s sweat, blood, and spit.

In other words, It is germ ladened and shouldn’t come near your eye. Otherwise, you could end up with an infection due to the introduction of foreign substances into your eyes.

The eyes are delicate; hence your eyes and contact lens should only be touched with clean hands.

It is entirely your choice if you wish to wear your contact lenses to spar anyways. If you’ve read this far, you are at least privy to the potential risks associated with its use.

If you decide to put up with these risks, the following are informed suggestions that could be of great use and advantage:

Preferably wear soft contact lenses

Soft contact lenses are considerably more comfortable when compared to their hard counterparts with the added benefit of being more easily replaceable.

In the event of losing a lens after taking a hit, get to the end of your round as best you can. Wash your hands thoroughly and grab a new one.

Always keep extras safely sealed in a sterile container in your gym bag or locker for emergency purposes.

Train without contact lenses

If your visual impairment is not so severe, endeavor to train occasionally without a contact lens to get acquainted with fighting without one.

Your sparring partner should be aware of your intentions so that they can work with you accordingly. This helps compensate for the distorted vision that may follow the loss of a contact lens when engaged in a real fight.

If you are not willing to put up with the risks mentioned above, but you’re passionate and hell-bent on indulging in the sport, I will strongly advise for a surgical procedure to correct your eye defect.

Although the risk of losing a lens can be checked or circumvented, it might be preferable to address the obstacle of poor vision wholly. Consult your optometrist on what corrective surgical procedure is suited to your condition.

Examples of such include Photo-refractive keratectomy and LASIK, the later commonly referred to as laser eye surgery.

These are refractive surgical procedures intended to correct a person’s vision, reducing dependence on glasses or contact lens.

Are there any professional boxers that wear contact lenses?

It is shrouded in mystery whether or not any professional boxer out there with a poor vision, fight while wearing contact lenses. It is important to note that not all professional boxers have perfect eyesight.

Edwin Valero, a professional boxer, has been reported to wear low-strength prescription lenses. Joe Fraser, an all-time great, was said to be legally blind in his left eye for the majority of his career.

Allegedly his left hook would stop his opponents from moving to his left side and get them moving to the right, which would keep them right in Frazier’s line of sight.

In conclusion, It is a plausible option if you wish to wear a contact lens to spar. It is essential to keep abreast of the risks and also prepare for inevitable blind fights.

You could even lead a successful boxing career with a great deal of determination, training, and foresight under Professional Boxing associations that permits its use.

Although very few of such exists. But I will personally recommend consulting an optometrist, a primary eye care medical practitioner, for advice on the matter.

For more articles like this check out our Boxing Category here.

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