Training in Contact Lenses

Without glasses or contact lenses, I’m as good as blind. While you don’t need your vision (that much) in judo or bjj once you’ve gripped up, I feel that it helps with detecting subtle details in your opponent’s movement.

Anyway, the point is I strongly prefer to train with my lenses in. What happens sometimes, is that the lenses pop out. I’ve lost a contact in a tournament before and kept going, and winning, but I remember my mind being constantly distracted, which was very frustrating.

A few comments on training with contact lenses:

  • Keep eye drops with you, for the cases when your eyes feel dry. That’s when the contacts are most likely to pop out. Sounds obvious, but this is useful especially right before long tournament matches.
  • As I was told today, and as many horror stories online concur, putting a contact lens into your eye after dropping it on the mat/floor is dangerous in terms of infections (e.g. staph).

LASIK eye surgery costs $2000 per eye with 98% of patients reporting being satisfied with the results. Mom, can I borrow $4000?

0 thoughts on “Training in Contact Lenses

  1. Dolph

    Like you, I can’t see much without corrective lenses. The clock on the wall is a blur; I distinguish people on the far side of the mat by their height, shape, and skin color; and I find myself squinting a lot.

    I had worn contacts for years before starting BJJ but became worried about serious injury if my eye was unintentionally injured while wearing them. At first, I started taking my contacts out for training, but I never found a locker room I thought was clean enough for me to put them back in.

    Consequently, I switched to glasses after my first year of training. I’ve thought about laser corrective surgery, but have always been nervous about training a month after the operation.

    Jen P, who used to train at Maxercise, had corrective surgery done a few years back without any problem, though.

    1. Lex Post author

      Glasses seems like too much trouble when I watch people put them on and take them off repeatedly during a class. Also, at tournaments, it just seems like a pain (not being able to see the scoreboard, etc).

      I’ll talk to Jen about the surgery, thanks for the pointer. It’s just so damn expensive… 😉

  2. Eric

    Really good advise about not putting the contacts back in after they pop out. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen people hunting the mat for their contacts. If it hits the floor it is as good as trash. I dont need glasses, but now that I know you wear contacts I will be sure to take full advantage if I suspect one is missing!

  3. AnnMaria

    I put mine back in whenever they popped out. Like a lot of things I’ve done, I should be blind and dead by now from it.

    I second the suggestion to have disposables. If one of mine comes out during a tournament, I fight without it and just put in another one when I get off the mat. Nothing should distract you when you are competing, certainly not something little like a contact lens. If they pop out and you lose one, so what.

    One tip I have found to have them come out less often:

    Often, they get knocked out in matwork when either you are pinning the person with something like kame shiho or when you are doing some other matwork move and the person’s arm, leg or whatever brushes across your face. A lot of time, once I had the person pinned, or was in the position I wanted to be, for example with their arm locked against my body and trying to break the arm away, I’d close my eyes. It wasn’t to get any zen-like sense of concentration. It was to keep my contacts in.


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