In the good old days I used to train karate. I would like to come back to martial arts (not necessarily karate) to work on my agility and endurance.

There are two catches:

  • Now I have a myopia + astigmatism (not so strong, but vision without glasses is blurry).
  • I can't wear contacts

Any hints?

4 Answers 4

  • For non-contact training, I just wear my glasses.
  • For sparring, I take them off [1].
  • For non-contact stick training, we wear safety goggles, which fit over the top.
  • For heavier stick training, I either take them off, or wear prescription sports goggles. They're goofy-looking, but so am I--it's a wash.

[1] In a fight, your glasses will come off--might as well get used to not having the vision you want. It sounds like my vision is noticeably worse than yours--honestly, my vision isn't the gating issue when I'm getting whupped in class ;)

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    +1 This is what I did until I got laser eye surgery. Jun 10, 2012 at 19:24
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    Me too. I find that even with very poor eyesight I can see gross body movements just fine without my glasses or contacts, but if your opponent has tells in his or her facial expressions you may miss them without corrective lenses. I try to train both ways (with and without lenses) to maximize my learning but also train for the possible situation of having to fight without lenses. Jun 10, 2012 at 19:36
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    @dmckee Good points. My training is almost completely non-sport, though--hopefully nothing will last long enough for me to discover if the other guy has tells ;) Jun 10, 2012 at 19:50
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    I'm going to second the recommendation for sports goggles (I have advanced astigmatism with differing prescriptions for each eye). My wife and I both use them for sparring and I swear by them - that first time you nearly put someone through a wall because of bad depth perception will typically convince everyone that a prescription strength solution is in order :)
    – rjstreet
    Jun 10, 2012 at 21:17

I would recommend plastic/goggle type glasses with an elastic band around your head. While it's true that glasses will normally come off in any real physical altercation, seeing and understanding the techniques during the hours and hours of practice is more important (IMHO) than your potential discomfort if you have them knocked off. Sport glasses were very good to me while I used them.

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    +1 for advocating seeing. Also, not every physical altercation is a knock-down drag-out struggle to the death. My glasses have stayed on in minor scuffles with friends that only escalated a little bit. Jun 12, 2012 at 21:14

I usually just wear my glasses with an elastic strap to hold them on. That's enough to keep them from flying off when moving quickly. I occasionally take them off, particularly when they get too messed up by sweat, or when I forget to bring a band for them, but I find it difficult to follow the instructor when I can't see clearly. I generally don't worry about them breaking from getting hit because anything that hits me hard enough to break the glasses is likely to hit hard enough to damage my face as it is. I have had one or two people express a worry that the person striking might get hurt, a near miss snagging the corner of the glasses and tearing skin, but I haven't actually had that be a problem.

In regards to contacts, I have heard about increased risk of retinal detachment when wearing them, but I don't find any current references to that and being nearsighted increases the risk anyhow. Probably best you don't wear them.


I would say try something like that

  • 1
    -1. This looks and smells like spam and even if it were not, it is subject to link rot. Mar 19, 2015 at 10:44
  • Welcome to Martial Arts! We discourage link-only answers here because links tend to break and then your answer becomes worthless. Please explain in your own words why this would be a good option for the OP.
    – THelper
    Mar 29, 2015 at 6:02

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