In an effort to allow people who need to wear corrective lenses to do so safely while playing Rugby and to accommodate people with monocular vision or chronic eye conditions who wish to wear goggles while playing Rugby, the IRB has developed specific goggles – “Rugby Goggles”. Rugby Goggles have been developed with a view to posing no additional risk to the wearer and other players.
The Rugby Goggles developed have undergone a series of tests designed to ensure that they are as safe as possible for use in Rugby including tests on:
The Rugby Goggles are not designed to provide extra protection for the wearer, but to allow corrective lenses to be worn without causing any greater risk of injury to any player.
In addition to the suitability of the Rugby Goggles for those requiring corrective lenses, the Rugby Goggles may also be used by people who suffer from chronic eye conditions. This includes people with monocular vision, restricted vision in one or both eyes and people with eye conditions that put them at a greater risk of eye-damage than the general population. While the Rugby Goggles are not designed to provide extra protection for such individuals, they may be worn for that purpose if the individual considers that it is beneficial to do so.
The IRB has developed a Global Law Trial to field test the Rugby Goggles’ design and obtain data for the purposes of developing a Rugby Goggles specification. The purpose of the field test is (i) to ensure that the Rugby Goggles perform as designed, namely that they provide players with a means of wearing corrective lenses safely during contact Rugby; (ii) to ascertain the suitability of the design for ease of use; and (iii) to ascertain if further specific field or laboratory tests are required.
The Rugby Goggles are only available in one size and are designed to fit anyone (by adjusting the headband). The Rugby Goggles will not be provided with prescription lenses in them. Once the Rugby Goggles have been received, the player will need to take them to his/her optician and have plastic lenses inserted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If the player does not require corrective lenses, the player may remove the lens-insert in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and may use the Rugby Goggles as provided.
It should be noted that only those Rugby Goggles carrying the official IRB Trial Approved logo will be permitted to be used in the trial, and all participants must demonstrate their need for the Rugby Goggles through a letter from their ophthalmologist (or similar expert) stating that there is an ophthalmic or medical need for their use. Inspections and checks may be performed by match referees to ensure that all participants have complied with these conditions.
The use of the Rugby Goggles is permitted in any game of Rugby. Any player who considers the risks inherent in playing with or against someone wearing the Rugby Goggles to be outside of acceptable levels of risk is free to choose not to participate in the game however the use of the Rugby Goggles is not grounds for preventing the wearer from playing in the game.
The success or otherwise of the Global Law Trial will determine whether Rugby Goggles will be permitted to be worn beyond the trial period and enable the IRB to provide a Rugby Goggles Specification. It is therefore essential that the IRB receives feedback from all those who elect to become part of the trial by purchasing and using a pair of the Rugby Goggles.
To purchase a pair of IRB Rugby Goggles, the first step is to log in using using your IRB Passport credentials. If you're not already registered with IRB Passport, follow the Register link below. Once you're logged in, there's a short application form to complete, after which you'll be given a purchase code for use on the site of the manufacturer, Raleri.
This list of questions and answers will be added to as required through feedback from participants using the online feedback form. If responses to specific questions are required please contact your national Union. All contact details can be found on the IRB website.