Contact lenses have opened up a whole new world for 10-year-old Dougie Millar who is mad about football and rugby. Since the age of 4, when Dougie had his first pre-school eye test provided free of charge at his local NHS health centre, wearing glasses with a strong prescription (+5.5 and +6) has become a way of life for sport-loving Dougie.
Wearing heavy-duty glasses with a thick lens or even goggles, which tend to steam up or need re-adjusting, brings its own challenges, especially when contact sports are your passion. Dougie gets his love for sport from both parents, as his father Iain was a rugby player and his mother Cary, a former gymnast and inventor of the Bootclaw, a scraper device that makes it easier for people to clean mud from their boots, whatever sport or active pursuit they choose.
Contact lenses offer sporting freedom
Cary explains: ‘Dougie loves playing football, however over the last three years since he has been playing for his team in the Epsom and Ewell Youth League, his performance has been restricted. Taking a header has been out of the question. At times his glasses have been knocked off during the game, and have been smashed to the ground.
Having contact lenses fitted has long been Dougie’s ambition. Indeed, he was so focused on being able to improve his skills on the football and rugby pitches that he eventually managed to persuade his parents to take him to their local Specsavers in Wimbledon at the end of April 2019. There, Dougie aged 9, was tested for his suitability to be able to wear contact lenses. Luckily Richard Sandiford, Specsavers optometrist and director advised Dougie and his mother that he would be able to wear contact lenses.
In-store tips for contact lens wear and care
The next few weeks proved to be challenging whilst Dougie spent time in store being taught how to put the lenses in and take them out. Cary said: ‘The staff at Specsavers were so patient and considerate in ensuring that Dougie learned how to handle the lenses. There were times during those first few weeks when Dougie became despondent, however, the support of the Specsavers staff paid off, as Dougie has now become so adept at handling his lenses that it has become second nature.’
Contact lenses improve confidence on the sport’s field
Cary went on to say: ‘Having the contact lenses fitted has been such a God-send for Dougie and especially for his sport. In fact, the first football match Dougie played with his lenses in, he scored five goals for his team, so he was delighted.’ Dougie has now been wearing contact lenses for around 6 months. Lots of other parents have asked Cary about Dougie’s contact lenses, saying they had no idea that 10-year-olds could wear them.
Cary said: ‘This is Dougie’s first real term of playing football and rugby wearing his contact lenses. He is so much more confident and is in fact excelling at both sports. He has been playing for the Wimbledon Warriors Rugby Club for the last four years. As a contact game, wearing lenses has really made a difference to Dougie’s ability, confidence and contribution to the team.
Cary continues: ‘Dougie can even watch a 3D movie more easily and I can buy him an off the shelf pair of sunglasses! Wearing contact lenses has quite literally changed his life.’ Richard said; ‘We are delighted that we have been able to help Dougie get used to wearing contact lenses and that they are making such a big difference to his day-to-day-life and especially to his football and rugby.’