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Visual Performance with Sport-Tinted Contact Lenses in Natural Sunlight

Erickson, Graham B.*; Horn, Fraser C.*; Barney, Tyler; Pexton, Brett; Baird, Richard Y.*

Optometry and Vision Science: May 2009 - Volume 86 - Issue 5 - p 509-516
doi: 10.1097/OPX.0b013e31819f9aa2
Original Article

Purpose. The use of tinted and clear contact lenses (CLs) in all aspects of life is becoming a more popular occurrence, particularly in athletic activities. This study broadens previous research regarding performance-tinted CLs and their effects on measures of visual performance.

Methods. Thirty-three subjects (14 male, 19 female) were fitted with clear B&L Optima 38, 50% visible light transmission Amber and 36% visible light transmission Gray-Green Nike Maxsight CLs in an individualized randomized sequence. Subjects were dark-adapted with welding goggles before testing and in between subtests involving a Bailey-Lovie chart and the Haynes Distance Rock test. The sequence of testing was repeated for each lens modality.

Results. The Amber and Gray-Green lenses enabled subjects to recover vision faster in bright sunlight compared with clear lenses. Also, subjects were able to achieve better visual recognition in bright sunlight when compared with clear lenses. Additionally, the lenses allowed the subjects to alternate fixation between a bright and shaded target at a more rapid rate in bright sunlight as compared with clear lenses. Subjects preferred both the Amber and Gray-Green lenses over clear lenses in the bright and shadowed target conditions.

Conclusions. The results of the current study show that Maxsight Amber and Gray-Green lenses provide better contrast discrimination in bright sunlight, better contrast discrimination when alternating between bright and shaded target conditions, better speed of visual recovery in bright sunlight, and better overall visual performance in bright and shaded target conditions compared with clear lenses.



Pacific University College of Optometry, Forest Grove, Oregon (GBE, FCH), Vance AFB, Oklahoma (TB), McGuire AFB, New Jersey (RYB), and Private Practice, Cheyenne, Wyoming (BP).

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The authors Drs. Horn and Erickson have no financial relationship involving the products tested or discussed in this paper.

Received September 25, 2007; accepted November 4, 2008.

© 2009 American Academy of Optometry