Background: Sun eyewear has been shown to have visual performance benefits. However, in fast moving ball sports, especially contact sports, sunglasses have limited applications. New contact lens technology has allowed the visual benefits of sun eyewear to be adapted into a frameless application ideal for contact sports. This study looked at the objective and subjective performance benefit of the Nike MaxSight contact lens (CL) for professional soccer goalkeepers.
Methods: Fifteen goalkeepers (13 first time contact lens wearers) at the Professional Goalkeepers Camp in Alsagers, England, aged 18-41, practiced for one week wearing the Amber MaxSight CL and completed a subjective questionnaire. During that week, 9 goalkeepers participated in a controlled study of goalkeeping performance while wearing the MaxSight CLs compared to clear Optima 38 CLs. Each athlete defended the goal from a simulated obstructed-view free kick; the goal keeper acting as his own control. A subjective questionnaire was completed after participating in the study.
Results: Goalkeeping performance was not enhanced while wearing MaxSight CLs compared to clear Optima 38 CLs (p < 0.21) under varying natural light conditions. Subjectively, athletes did report an improvement in visual comfort in varying weather conditions, a mean value of 4.46 (SE 0.13) in sunny conditions and 4.36 (SE 0.22) in overcast, rainy conditions on a 5-point scale of visual comfort. The goalkeepers preferred the MaxSight CL to the clear Optima 38 graded on the same 5 point visual comfort scale. While wearing the MaxSight CLs, the participants reported no distortions, physical discomfort, and improved ability to track the ball.
Conclusions: There was no statistical difference in objective performance by the goalkeepers while wearing the Amber Maxsight CL compared to clear Optima 38 CL in varying weather conditions. There was a subjective difference in visual comfort while wearing the MaxSight SCL.
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