Night lenses: a game changer for short-sighted elite sportspeople

By Tom Griffiths, Co-founder of

NOTE: All the sportspeople interviewed use night lenses, and all are giving their time for free to help raise awareness in the sports sector. None are paid to promote night lenses.

Why night lenses are better for elite sports than day lenses

To put in a top performance, to win, everything needs to go right. Quite often with day lenses, it doesn’t go right:

“In the semi-final of the European Championships my day lens folded in my eye under my goggles. A couple of times I lost one, or would race with only one eye in, which didn’t help.”
Chris Walker-Hebborn, Olympic Silver and Commonwealth Gold medallist, swimmer

“I regularly lost lenses during games. The idea of wearing a lens overnight, and then having perfect sight with nothing in my eye to worry about come match day, was literally a game changer for me”.
Chris Fusaro, International Rugby Player

“Towards the end of last season my lens came out during an important match. I couldn’t get my new lens back in, so my manager substituted me because he couldn’t have me out of the game for that long.”
Jason Brown, Footballer

“I would get anxious thinking ‘this lens in going to fall out’ instead of concentrating on the game.”
Diego Esquival, Footballer

“The problem with MTB and day lenses is they dry out and when mud hits them it compromises them. I was getting tired of how frequently they dried out and how uncomfortable that was.”
Dr Euan “Rossi” Speirits, Elite 4X and Downhill Mountain Bike Racer

How many times do you see players on their knee fixing their lens? The issue is the minutes spent before that moment when they have been concentrating on their lens and not the game:

night lenses orthokeratology ortho-k contact lens - Rugby - David McCann Ulster rugby - fixes lenses on pitch

David McCann, Ulster rugby No.8 (pictured), fiddled with his lens for around 6 minutes before this moment, during which time he was active in a scrum, a line-out and open play.

“We recently put a player through laser eye surgery. We won’t be doing that again! Now that we know night lenses exist, we’ll use them as our primary option for short-sighted players before day lenses and laser.”
Andrew Rolls, Director of Performance, Ipswich Town Football Club

What are night lenses?

Night Lenses [clinical names: Ortho-k, orthokeratology lenses, OK, CRT] give short/near-sighted patients perfect sight by harmlessly re-shaping the cornea while they sleep. Simply remove when you wake for perfect sight without glasses or day lenses. Repeat nightly. Launched 20 years ago they are popular in the Far East, now growing fast around the world. How they work – explainer animation.

My teenage son’s life was transformed by night lenses, an optical device that has been around for years that I couldn’t believe I had never heard of. I wanted to help transform other people’s lives in a similar way, so I decided to raise night lens awareness and launched

Night lenses have never been promoted to sportspeople

The only reason that thousands of short-sighted elite sportspeople continue to use day lenses instead of night lenses, is quite simply because they have never heard of them.

When they do, many switch, as it doesn’t make sense not to. There’s no reason to be held back by a lens in your eye that doesn’t need to be there.


The confidence boost given to elite sportspeople of perfect sight with nothing in their eye is enormous, and counts:

“I had an arrogance about my ability that everyone needs at the top level to put in a confident, winning performance. I didn’t want to walk into the room with a bit of swagger, only to be seen scrabbling around trying to put a contact lens in to see! A clear weakness. To win you need to 100% believe that you’re the best in the room and give off that vibe to your competitors. Night lenses meant that I never had to have, or to show, weakness. They help make me Superman! 😊
Chris Walker-Hebborn, Olympic Silver and Commonwealth Gold medallist, backstroke.

“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.”
Catriona Morrison, Duathlon Double World Champion, Ironman & Triathlon Champion


Often patients can achieve “better than 20/20” vision with night lenses as the cornea itself has been altered to give “perfect sight” vs a day lens being used on the eye to enhance vision. With gold medals and games being won by fractions, this extra sharpness can make all the difference:

“Not only was it one less thing to worry about on game day, but sight is important in any sport and the night lenses helped sharpen things up a bit. They definitely contributed to allowing me to perform to, and at, the highest level.”
Chris Fusaro, International Rugby Player

“As a full back there’s a lot of kicking and pressured high ball catching, often in rainy and muddy conditions. As soon as I started to wear night lenses I noticed a massive difference, mainly during scanning the pitch and catching high balls. The higher level you go in sport it’s always the ‘one percenters’ that make all the difference”.
Jacob Lineen, rugby player


For many ‘Train hard, win easy’ + everything going right on the day = a win. Which is why many elite sportspeople attribute part of their success down to the switch from day lenses to night lenses:

“Night lenses are 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.”
Catriona Morrison, Duathlon Double World Champion, Ironman & Triathlon Champion.

“My day lenses were really uncomfortable during matches with sweat and dust in them making it hard to see. Sometimes they would fall out during a game, so I’d have “half and half” vision with one eye right and the other wrong. My optician told me to leave it if one fell out during a game because my eye might get infected if I put it back in after it touched the ground. It was also impossible to find on the ground anyway!”
Diego Esquival, Footballer

“Night lenses have genuinely revolutionised my sports career. They let me go for a day of competition with zero distraction of dry eye and have a normal life with no need to consider using contacts or wondering whether they will dry out. I no longer have to carry a set of glasses with me all the time.”
Dr Euan “Rossi” Speirits, Elite 4X and Downhill Mountain Bike Racer


Because night lenses give sportspeople perfect sight without glasses or day lenses, there is less craving for ‘freedom’ from an optical device which day lens wearers have:

“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.”
Catriona Morrison, Duathlon Double World Champion, Ironman & Triathlon Champion

“I’ve become so accustomed to wearing night lenses that I don’t even think about me as someone who wears lenses, as I put them in at night and take them out in the morning, it’s as easy as that.”
Jacob Lineen, rugby player

“Laser eye surgery means time out of the water and is pretty invasive. I’ve not heard anyone who hasn’t struggled for at least a week afterwards. A lot of us, especially in swimming, can’t afford to take time out of the water. Three sessions out and we were classed as unfit, or we’d lost touch with the water. I know it sounds dramatic, but at that level it really is that pernickety. My best mate’s dad is on his third round of laser, and I have no intention of going through all that.”
Chris Walker-Hebborn, Olympic Silver and Commonwealth Gold medallist, backstroke.


Chris sums up how night lenses change life outside sport:

“No matter what profession you are in, night lenses are a great option. There’s none of the waste associated with dailies and you can never lose a lens when you’re out and about, as you have nothing in your eye to lose! You’ll never accidentally rub your lens out of your eye whilst at work, on your commute, or worst of all, whilst driving. It’s just one less thing to worry about during the busy schedules that have become normal for most people’s everyday life”.
Chris Fusaro, International Rugby Player

“Rossi” sums up how he believes night lenses can revolutionise sport:

“Night lenses ‘will’ absolutely revolutionise sports for glasses and day lens wearers who are able to use them. When people understand how they changed my sports life you can see that they instantly get how it would benefit them not have day lenses in, or glasses on, while they compete. If I had continued wearing day lenses I would never have achieved so much in mountain biking without the freedom that night lenses give me.”
Dr Euan “Rossi” Speirits, Elite 4X and Downhill Mountain Bike Racer

The importance of ‘perfect sight’ in sport

All the short-sighted sportspeople interviewed agree that:

  1. To put in a top performance (to win), everything needs to go right
  2. To perform to an elite level their short-sight needs to be corrected to ‘perfect sight’
  3. The risks of laser surgery, and the time out to have it done, aren’t worth it
  4. Day lenses are better than glasses for sport. Night lenses are better than day lenses
  5. If your prescription works for night lenses, it doesn’t make sense to continue with day lenses

The contributors

Night lenses - orthokeratology ortho-k sleep contact lens - Chris walker hebborn

Chris Walker-Hebborn | Olympic Silver and Commonwealth Gold medallist Swimmer

Night lenses - orthokeratology ortho-k sleep contact lens - catriona morrison duathlon triathlon

Catriona Morrison | Duathlon Double World Champion, Ironman & Triathlon Champion

Night lenses - orthokeratology ortho-k sleep contact lens - chris fusaro rugby

Chris Fusaro | International Rugby Player

Night lenses - orthokeratology ortho-k sleep contact lens - Euan Speirits

Dr Euan “Rossi” Speirits | Elite 4X and Downhill Mountain Bike Racer

Night lenses - orthokeratology ortho-k sleep contact lens - jacob lineen rugby

Jacob Lineen | Rugby player

jason brown night lenses for football

Jason Brown | Footballer

diego night lenses for football

Diego Esquival | Footballer


About the author

Tom Griffiths is a Sunday Times Top 100 Entrepreneur-Disruptor, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of, an early social network (1998). Tom’s short-sighted teenage son’s life was transformed by night lenses. Not only did his myopia stabilise immediately when he started wearing them (decreasing his risks of eye disease later in life by as much as 40%), but without glasses or day lenses his confidence flourished and, now 18 (at the time of writing), Benjamin surfs huge waves. Something he could never have done without night lenses (pictured below).

Tom and his wife couldn’t believe that these life-changing lenses existed, but they weren’t commonly known. He identified the problem: they were called “Ortho-K” lenses, orthokeratology lenses, which made them hard to understand or share with others. He came up with the idea of making it simpler, by re-naming them “Night lenses”. Glasses, day lenses, night lenses and laser eye surgery. He joined up with Scott Brown from Scotlens, the company who made Benjamin’s night lenses, and together they launched and the #nightlenses revolution!

Night lenses - orthokeratology ortho-k sleep contact lens - benjamin griffiths surfer

Benjamin Griffiths | Life changed by night lenses (he couldn’t see the waves before)

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