Climbing is a sport that requires precision, strength, and most importantly, a clear vision. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced climber, having good vision is crucial for your safety and performance. Wearing glasses or contacts while climbing can be challenging, but with the right tips, it is possible to climb safely and effectively with glasses or contacts.
Choosing glasses for climbing
If you have the option of having separate glasses for climbing then it is important to choose the right type of glasses. You should consider glasses that are lightweight, durable, and have a good fit. You may want to avoid glasses that have thick frames or lenses that may obstruct your peripheral vision. Additionally, for outdoor climbing, you may want to consider sunglasses that are polarized, which can help reduce glare from the sun or other reflective surfaces. Quite often people that have separate glasses for climbing are using their old pair for climbing and their new glasses for less risky activities.
One important consideration when wearing glasses while climbing is to ensure that they fit properly. Ill-fitting glasses can cause discomfort or even fall off during a climb. Make sure that your glasses fit securely and snugly around your head, and consider using a strap or band to keep them in place. Even if you don’t have a separate strap you might want to have the ends bent so that they go a bit deeper behind the ears.
- Familiarity, you can see like you always see
- Easier to use when camping
- Good availability of durable glasses
- Can protect your eyes from debris, chalk, ice, etc.
- If they break or fall you lose/lessen your sight drastically
- Reduced peripheral vision
- Can fog up
- Won’t fog up
- You can’t bump them into holds
- Won’t fall off easily
- You can use belay glasses or sunglasses freely
- If you drop one you are going to have a hard time seeing
- Hard to keep clean when climbing outside and also when camping
- Risk of getting eye infections
- Can dry up, especially on longer routes or trips
- I personally had a hard time finding contacts that felt good for me
You can read more about belay glasses in our article: Belay Glasses – The Best Belayer Glasses Review. In this article we review the best belay glasses, give tips on how to use them, as well as answer common questions about them.
Keeping your glasses safe when climbing
- Use a strap or retainer: A strap or retainer can help keep your glasses securely in place. You can attach the strap to the temples of your glasses and wear it around your neck. This way, if your glasses fall off, they will still be attached to you rather than hitting the rocks or your belayer.
- Choose glasses with a secure fit: When selecting glasses for climbing, choose frames that fit snugly and securely. Glasses with a rubberized grip on the temples or nose pads can provide extra stability.
- Study the route: Especially when climbing top rope its good to consider how the rope will be running and if there are any places where your glasses are likely to hit a hold. If you are climbing a slab or vertical wall with delicate movements its likely you will have your face close to the wall. Also if you are on top rope its good to note that when the rope is close to your face, it can go behind the arm of the glasses and pull them off.
- Wear a helmet: when climbing outside its often a good idea to wear a helmet anyways, but if you have glasses its likely that the helmet will protect your glasses from getting scratched as well as being pulled off. Usually the strap of the helmet also
- Use anti-slip products: Some products, such as anti-slip nose pads or behind the ear hooks, can help keep your glasses in place. You can apply these products to the temples or nose pads of your glasses to improve their grip.
Third option: benefits and cons of laser eye surgery for climbers:
- Improved vision: The primary benefit of laser eye surgery is that it can significantly improve your vision, which is crucial for climbers. With better vision, climbers can see the terrain and the route more clearly, identify potential hazards, and navigate more safely.
- No need for glasses or contacts: After laser eye surgery, many people no longer need to wear glasses or contacts, which can be a significant advantage for climbers. Glasses and contacts can be cumbersome and can interfere with activities like climbing and belaying.
- Long-lasting results: The results of laser eye surgery are usually permanent, which means that climbers won’t have to worry about getting new glasses or contacts every once in a while.
- Less dependability: When your eyes are fixed, you won’t be so dependent on your glasses or contacts.
- Easier camping: You won’t have to mess around with dirty fingers to take out your contacts or find a safe spot for your glasses in your tent.
- Potential risks and complications: As with any surgery, laser eye surgery comes with some risks and potential complications, including dry eyes, infection, glare or halos, and vision loss.
- Cost: Laser eye surgery can be expensive, and it may not be covered by insurance, which can be a significant disadvantage for climbers on a tight budget.
- Limited candidacy: Not everyone is a good candidate for laser eye surgery. People with certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune diseases or diabetes, may not be eligible for the procedure.
- Reduced night vision: Some people experience reduced night vision after laser eye surgery, which can be a significant disadvantage for climbers who often climb during the early morning or late evening hours. I personally have noticed some degree of decline in my night vision after the surgery, but the processes have really developed since the time of my eye surgery.
Overall, laser eye surgery can be a beneficial option for climbers who want to improve their vision and reduce their reliance on glasses or contacts. However, it’s essential to weigh the potential risks and cons against the benefits and to consult with a qualified eye surgeon to determine whether laser eye surgery is right for you.
Finally, it is important to remember that wearing glasses while climbing is a personal preference. Some climbers may prefer to wear contact lenses, while others may prefer to climb without any corrective lenses at all. I personally chose to get laser surgery over 15 years ago and I haven’t regretted it once. It is important to choose the option that works best for you and your climbing lifestyle.