Athletes Testing Contact Lens ‘Sunglasses’

The lenses that really will make Rooney see red (Evening Standard)

He may already have a fiery temper, but Wayne Rooney could soon really start seeing red during Premiership matches. Nike, which sponsors Rooney, along with other players including Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane and Ronaldo, is testing coloured contact lenses for top players. The firm says red, yellow and amber lenses can help them see the ball better, particularly in bright sunlight. Brian Roberts, of US basketball team Baltimore Orioles, who has tested the lenses, said: “They’re like wearing sunglasses without wearing sunglasses. I could see such a huge difference right away.”

The lenses, which have been under development for seven years, could be used in Britain this year by Premiership players. Nike is working with contact-lens company Bausch & Lomb to sell them through opticians. The colour of the lenses has been designed to ensure the wearer does not actually see a red tint and bright sunlight is filtered out. It is hoped that by wearing them during-sunny matches, wearers could prolong their playing careers. “It helps your eyes relax instead of squinting all the time,” said Danny Graves of the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, who has also been testing the lenses. “And that helps relax the rest of your body.”

Graves also discovered another benefit – they can intimidate opponents. “They make you look kind of evil,” he said. “Other players look at you like you’re possessed.”

Interesting. Doctors interviewed for the piece expressed concerns that the lenses be well fitted and sanitary. One suspects professional athletes would get a fresh pair for every game. If NBA players can get a new pair of $200 shoes for every game, surely they can spring for some $5 contact lenses–which the manufacturer would likely provide free just for promotional purposes, anyway.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. the Pirate says:

    “Brian Roberts, of US basketball team Baltimore Orioles”… Some days the Brits are beyond hope, how do you confuse basketball and baseball?