Catriona Morrison MBE
Night lenses changed my life | Catriona Morrison MBE
Catriona Morrison is a Multisport duathlon world champion (run, bike, run), Triathlon World Championships bronze medallist (3.8k swim, 180km bike, 42km run) and has won various Ironman events around the world. Catriona retired in 2015 and has since put her incredible energy into youth projects in her native Scotland, mentoring youngsters and is the co-founder of the fantastic Everactiv sportswear brand for young women, which engages in projects and community programmes to inspire young women. Given the nature of her sport (in water, onto a bike, then a run) night lenses proved revolutionary for Catriona, so we organised a Zoom to hear her story.
Q: So, Catriona – multi world champion duathlon, long distance Triathlon and Ironman champion – what’s your mantra for life?
A: My thing is how much further can I go? I retired in 2015, so for the past few years I’ve been coming to terms with not being an athlete. I’ve been diverting my attention elsewhere into my youth projects. On the sports front I’m currently enjoying longer distance bike riding and have entered a 500k multi-day bike event in September.
Q: How did you get into night lenses?
A: I went to see my Optician and described how sick and tired I was of wearing contact lenses when I competed. With Triathlon and Duathlon there is a lot of transition – onto bikes, into water, out onto the road for running – so I needed different goggles, glasses and sunglasses during the races. I would have to hide them in case they disappeared to make sure I had the right strategic set of glasses on my eyes for that part of the race. If I didn’t then my contact lenses would get affected by the wind or I wouldn’t be able to see properly. I was sick of it. When my optician suggested that I would be suitable for night lenses I initially didn’t understand what they were or believe her. I could have had laser surgery, but I wasn’t keen, as I only have one set of eyes and I didn’t want it to go wrong. With night lenses you get the best of both worlds and you can always revert back.
Q: What difference have night lenses made to your sporting life?
A: It’s revolutionary. I don’t need to be anxious about my contact lenses falling out. I don’t need to be extra prepared with a backup plan. I no longer needed prescription goggles for the swim or prescription glasses and sunglasses for the bike. All the hassle stopped. You don’t realise how useful it is to have normal vision until you have it! I wake up in the morning and have nothing to worry about. I don’t even consider myself to have any kind of sight problem now. It’s weird.
Q. Is there a link between using night lenses and your success in sport?
A. Overall, yes. Any sport where you sweat, you rub your face and your eyes. If you’re a contact lens wearer you risk dislodging the lens and so you think about that. Sports glasses feel sweaty and can steam or smear, so you think about them too. To put a top performance together you need to dot all the ‘I’s and cross all the ‘T’s. It would have been a very different story if I had all that background worry about goggles coming off during the swim or dislodging a lens during a race. All I do now is put one lens in and take one lens out. All done. Nothing in my eyes for the rest of the day and the race. Why wouldn’t you want to control the uncontrollable? So many things are uncontrollable in a race – why not control it?
Q. Could night lenses revolutionise sports for glasses and day lens wearers?
A: Sport is a part of life. Night lenses, for me, revolutionised my life as they revolutionised my sport experience.
Q: Would you ever go back to day lenses?
A: Perhaps the only way I’d go back if I wasn’t being physically active in my life. But then I’ll always be active. I got them because of the volume of physical activity I did and the ease of having a life without having to deal with the hassles of glasses or contact lenses. I briefly came off them twice. The interesting thing was that I mindful of the wastage of day lenses. Night lenses are 1 set of lenses per year versus throwing away a pair every day. For anyone thinking about night lenses who are more attuned to sustainability and environment, this might also be a positive plus point for night lenses. Less waste.
Q: To ask the obvious question at the end – would you recommend them to other professional and amateur sports people?
[Editor’s note: we’re starting to see a theme here with night lens wearers who compete at the highest level in sport. Downhill Mountain Bike Champ, Euan Speirits [CLICK HERE to read his interview], talked of the realisation that he wouldn’t have achieved as much without night lenses. He echoes Catriona’s point about controlling the uncontrollable, that to hit peak performance not having to think about your eyes is a massive thing. We’re also starting to see a theme that all these amazing people really make me feel inadequate when I interview them! But, also inspiring… really enjoyed chatting to Catriona]
WATCH | Catriona Morrison
We caught up with Catriona at home while she was training and chatted to her about her night lenses experience