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Question Number: 31420

Other 4/3/2017

RE: Pro Professional

Kevin Santiago Alavez of Escondido, California United States asks...

Can a professional referee wear contact lenses?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Kevin
By all means. Not everyone is blessed with perfect eyesight so it is expected that some referees and assistants at the highest level will have glasses and wear contact lenses.
At the very highest levels referees undergo regular eyesight tests without glasses, with glasses and with contacts lenses. If there is a problem with the test the referee is expected to correct the issue with the necessary lenses that may be made specifically for that referee.
It is like any other profession where eyesight is vital. One cannot retain certain classes of driving licences without passing the required eyesight test which includes visual acuity. Refereeing is no different.
Referees are many times accused of poor eyesight. Without some form of vision correction that would probably be true for all referees who are near sighted. LOL

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Kevin,
Yes they can. Obviously, a referee should have the best visual acuity they possibly can and for many, many people that means using some form of vision correction. Of the two most popular forms, spectacles and contact lenses, I would say say lenses are slightly preferable both from a safety perspective and due to potential problems during rainy weather etc. There is also the unfortunate but fairly common perception that a referee's competence might be affected by wearing glasses, even though this is probably not true in most cases. I sometimes used to wear glasses while refereeing and I would like to think that it did not affect my performance.

According to the Vision Council of America, approximately 75% of adults use some sort of vision correction. In the UK the figure is almost identical at 74%.

So if people requiring spectacles or contact lenses were not permitted to referee, there would most definitely be a massive shortage of referees.

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