Contact Lens Case Reports

Testing a New Sport Tint Lens

contact lens case reports
Testing a New Sport Tint Lens

In the late 1990s Professor Alan Reichow from the Pacific University College of Optometry and Nike Vision began work on a series of contact lenses to enhance visual performance during sporting activities. Today, the lenses are co-marketed with Bausch & Lomb under the brand name Nike MaxSight. The lenses are currently available in two sporting tints: Amber (Figure 1) for sports that require acute object recognition such as baseball, tennis, soccer, hockey, etc., and grey-green (Figure 2) for sports that require acute contour recognition such as golf and running.

Figure 1. The MaxSight amber tint for improved spatial recognition.

How They Work

The lenses incorporate Nike's trademarked Light Architecture Technology that controls both the quantity and quality of light reaching the eyes. The lenses filter out most of the visual spectrum below 500nm (blue light) and provide improved image clarity and definition by reducing haze and glare as well as reducing chromatic aberration, according to the manufacturer. The lenses also provide light transmission in peak areas of the visual spectrum for selective filtering of wavelengths to aid in object and contour recognition.

Additionally, the selective transmission of the lenses provides a perceived brightening effect despite the overall reduction in light transmission.

Put to the Test

We conducted a study at Pacific University in which we fit four myopic starters of the university baseball team in both clear and tinted MaxSight lenses. Throughout games 1 through 19, the four starters wore clear contact lenses with their maximum distance prescription. After game 19 their average batting average was .262. Over the next 20 games the players wore MaxSight amber lenses, and after game 40 their average batting average improved to .349 (a 30 percent improvement). The remaining four starters (those not wearing contact lenses) had batting averages that improved only 14 percent from the end of game 19 to the end of game 40.

Figure 2. The MaxSight grey-green tint for improved contour recognition.

Studies related to athletic performance are always plagued by physical, environmental and psychological variables that are difficult to control and measure. Despite these obstacles, studies such as the Pacific Baseball Study and individual case reports such as Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, who had a .264 career batting average with clear contact lenses and .320 with the amber MaxSight lenses, may provide some insights into the lens' performance.

Ultimately, the subjective responses of individual athletes may provide the most accurate assessment of the overall performance of the lenses. In the case of the MaxSight lenses, many of our professional and amateur athletes report improved focus and spatial recognition of objects with the amber lenses, and with the grey-green they often report more comfortable vision under high luminance conditions and improved recognition of surface contours such as a putting green.

Patrick Caroline is an associate professor of optometry at Pacific University and is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Oregon Health Sciences University. He is also a consultant to Paragon Vision Sciences and SynergEyes, Inc. Mark André is an associate professor of optometry at Pacific University. He is also a consultant for Alcon Labs, CooperVision and SynergEyes, Inc.