Background: The use of tinted lenses in competitive sport is well known. Contact lens (CL) integration of wavelength-specific filters may provide significant performance enhancement and visual advantages in baseball compared to tinted spectacles.
Methods: Five wavelength-specific filters were tested and two were chosen for use by the Pacific University 2003 baseball team. Twenty collegiate baseball players were fitted with both SportSight™ Amber42 and Amber66 soft contact lenses for wear during practices and games for a full season. The performance of the study participants was evaluated by comparing batting average, slugging percentage, on base percentage, and fielding percentage. Pitching performance was evaluated by comparing earned runs on average per nine innings, walk to strikeout ratio, hits allowed per inning, and accuracy. Performance statistics were compared under two tinted CL conditions and one no tint condition.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences in any of the performance measures evaluated in this study. However, there was a trend for most athletes to perform better while wearing a SportSight tinted CLs versus wearing no tint. Subjective results also revealed perceived visual and performance benefits to wearing SportSight tinted CLs.
Conclusion: Overall baseball batting, fielding, and pitching performance showed a tendency to improve when athletes wear SportSight tinted CLs. While the results are not statistically significant, any actual or perceived improvement in visual performance and psychological "edge" can make a considerable difference in an athlete or team's performance. Therefore the SportSight CLs may be beneficial to baseball players.
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