Can you box with contacts?

Some people are born with poor eyesight whilst others deteriorate over time. You might be a talented boxer, but if you can’t see punches being thrown at you, this is a big problem. One question that we often see asked is whether you can box with contact lenses or not.

In short, competitive boxing doesn’t allow fighters to wear contacts during a fight. This isn’t the case in UFC as they allow you to take part wearing contacts, as MMA involves more than just punching. For the boxers out there, if you don’t want to switch to MMA or another martial art, read on to find out what you can do if your eyesight isn’t the best.

Boxing With Contacts

Boxing with contacts is possible as most gyms will allow you to box with contacts in training, sparring, and even in amateur fights. Some contact lenses are better suited for sports than others so we recommend you buy these. Soft contact lenses are the best for fighting sports such as boxing and MMA and all brands make these.

The problem with wearing contacts during boxing is that one punch can make them move which can cause your vision to be impaired. Referees don’t want to be stopping fights every time your contacts aren’t aligned which is why they’re not allowed in professional bouts. At least in sparring when you wear boxing headgear there is less chance of this happening.

Boxing with headguards
Two boxers sparring with head guards

Some boxers with bad vision will prefer to not use contacts at all and just get used to boxing without them. However, this isn’t possible if your eyesight is very poor so contacts could be one of the solutions.

Boxing isn’t all about fights though, a lot of focus is on the actual training. Whether that’s on bag work or focus pads you can easily box with contacts when performing these types of drills.

Boxing With Glasses

Boxing with glasses is possible in the same way it is with contacts, for training purposes. Whilst there are special sports glasses that are made for contact sports you won’t be able to wear them whilst sparring or in fights. Even if the lens isn’t normal glass, still being punched where you have the glasses on your face could be a disadvantage. This is because a punch landed on them can cause worse bruising than without them.

So, if you’ve never worn contacts before and want to get more involved in boxing then it’s best to start wearing them. That or there are some other alternatives that we’re going to look at below.

Other options available

Orthokeratology (ortho-k) contact lenses

You might not have heard of orthokeratology (ortho-k) contact lenses so let us tell you about this option. These are contacts that are special rigid gas permeable (RGP) lenses that allow oxygen to go through the actual lens to the eye. These are usually worn at night so in the morning your vision will be better, although it isn’t a permanent fix. Which is why you’ll need to wear them every night.

Boxers can use this type of contact lens before training or a fight so that they don’t have to wear contacts during it. This is becoming a good way of dealing with this issue, but they are expensive compared to normal contacts.

LASIK Surgery

If you’re having to pay extra for special contact lenses then you might want to consider laser eye surgery. This procedure has advanced so much since it was invented that the success rate is very close to 100%.

This treatment can be costly though in the United States and Europe too. It is known that some people will go to Thailand for this type of treatment as the price is much lower and the quality is still high. In America, you can pay up to $3,000 per eye for LASIK surgery whereas in Thailand you can pay this amount for both eyes.

If you do go down this route, you won’t be able to box for a while due to the surgery. You should wait a minimum of 12 weeks and even then it’s best to check with a doctor before going ahead with any training.

FAQs

Can boxers wear contacts?

Boxers can wear contacts for training including sparring and some amateur boxing promotions allow them to. But, boxers can’t take part in professional fights wearing contacts.

Can UFC fighters wear contacts?

The UFC has different rules on contacts compared to pro boxing as they allow UFC fighters to wear contacts in the Octagon.

Best contact lenses for sports like boxing?

Soft contact lenses are the best type for boxing and this has been confirmed by doctors. This is because they are less likely to move when getting punched in the face compared to RGP contacts. Most popular lens brands like Acuvue make soft contacts so you can buy these online or in a pharmacy.

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