10 Interesting Facts About Swimming Goggles and Masks

Being able to see in the water has been a normal human struggle for hundreds of years. When you’re underwater, the world looks different and even people with perfect 20/20 vision above the surface see everything as both blurry and much bigger below the waves. Swimming with your eyes open, whether in a chlorinated pool, a freshwater lake, or out in the ocean, is not only difficult to see but can be seriously uncomfortable. This is among the primary reasons why so many people swim with goggles or diving masks but what do you really know about swimming goggles? We normally spend a lot of time on how important it is to be able to see underwater and during water-based adventures, especially for people who need prescription vision correction, but today we’re going to lighten things up. Let’s look at some fun facts about swimming goggles and masks.

We normally spend a lot of time on how important it is to be able to see underwater and during water-based adventures, especially for people who need prescription vision correction, but today we’re going to lighten things up. Let’s look at some fun facts about swimming goggles and masks.

1) You Can See Better Through Air Than Water

One of the biggest selling points for goggles is how much easier it is to see underwater while wearing them. This is because light passes through water differently than it does through air. In fact, because water is thicker, it passes more slowly creating an unusual magnification and distortion effect. When goggles seal to your face, they create two little pockets of air that you can look through making it easier to see.

2) Protection from Microbe Infections

You never know what’s floating around in a body of water. If it’s a pool, resort, hot tub, or water park, the water is likely full of a combination of chlorine and (let’s face it) pee. which will both undeniably burn your eyes. Outside the ‘safe’ chlorinated areas there are all sorts of other things in the water like tiny fish or, more dangerously, microbes. You may not know anyone it’s happened to but you can absolutely get an eye infection simply by opening your eyes in lake water unless, of course, they’re protected by that pocket of air inside your goggles or swim mask.

3) Contacts Are a Pain to Swim In

Some people argue that they don’t need prescription goggles because they have contact lenses to swim in instead. While this may seem super convenient running around in your bathing suit on the shore, all that convenience goes away when chlorine gets in your contact or, worse, one pops out and floats who-knows-where at the bottom of the pool. Even if you do wear contacts in the pool, we recommend wearing goggles over them.

4) You May Need a Different Prescription for Rx Goggles and Masks

Did you know that prescriptions vary from glasses to goggles? The reason for this is because your prescription is based on where the lens will be in relation to your eye so that they can create the right focal point and correct your ability to focus nearby or further away. Goggles, on the other hand, are a different distance from your eyes than your glasses lenses, as are prescription dive masks, so they will need a slightly different prescription to correct your vision perfectly.

5) Some Prescription Masks Have Lenses on the Inside

When you think of prescription dive masks, most people think of the kind that has the lens built into the faceplate. However, some models have inserts behind the sealed faceplate instead. These create incredibly versatile prescription dive masks because the inserts can be changed out for someone else’s prescription or removed completely to lend your mask to someone with normal vision or so you can swim with contacts and a mask instead.

6) Never Dive in Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

While you can dive in contacts and a diving mask, it’s also recommended that you neve ever go too deep while wearing gas permeable contacts. The reason for this is because GP contacts will respond to the diving presser and begin to dig their way into your eyeballs. This is not just uncomfortable but quite dangerous.

7) Tight Does Not Equal Sealed

Many people think that how tight they can pull their goggle straps will determine how well the compartments seal to yoru face but this is actually incorrect. The fit is way more important than the pressure. If the goggles seal firmly to the shape of your eyes and cheekbones, they are much more likely to stay on even if your strap is loose than a badly fitting pair with a tight strap.

8) Things Underwater Can Appear 34% Larger

Remember talking about how light travels through water more slowly? It’s been figured that the approximate amount that water makes things seem bigger around you is about 25%, meaning that everything seems a full fourth larger (and closer) than usual. However, when you put on a dive mask, the lens and water together make everything look a full 34% larger.

9) Professional Swimmers Wear Uncomfortable Goggles

Aquadynamics is an important factor for professionals swimmers who race for medals and trophies. What they wear in the pool matters a lot, including the shape of their goggles. Professional swimmers tend to wear rounder more comfortable goggles to train in but compete in tight, uncomfortable that are more aquadynamic on race day.

10) Goggles and Masks Prevent Eye Irritation

Okay, you already knew that goggles and swim masks keep chlorine and microbes out of your eyes but what you didn’t know is that this is what modern goggles were actually invented for. Seeing better is one thing but people didn’t start picking up the popular use of goggles until it became apparent that they could swim in chlorinated pools more comfortably with them.

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