What Traits Should I Look For in Prescription Swim Goggles?

Taking off your glasses to swim is one of the great compromises in life. You want to play in the water and see when you swim but conventional glasses just aren’t up to the three-dimensional movement. Even a had strap isn’t sufficient because there’s still visual clarity and chlorine to consider. And let’s face it: going without visual correction is a lot better than watery normal lenses. 

This is why so many glasses wearers eventually turn to prescription swim goggles. Whether you’re a competitive swimmer or just a recreational pool diver, the ability to see underwater and avoid constantly pulling your glasses on and off for water-based events is worth it. Now the only question is… what kind of prescription swim goggles do you want? There are a surprising number of options for anyone who is familiar with goggles being something you pick up at the grocery store.

As it becomes easier and more mainstream to produce prescription lenses in either preset diodes or custom made pieces, you can find prescription goggles in a wide variety of styles and sizes. It will take some understanding to choose the perfect prescription swim goggles for you.

->Lens Shape and Peripheral Vision

One of the first things you want to think about is how much peripheral vision you need. Different designs of goggles can provide very different ranges of vision. Lenses that poke out and have sides have less peripheral vision than those that sweep back in an arced lens to provide one larger visual area.

If you’ve simply worn goggles without visual correction before, you may already have an idea of what your favorite goggle lens shape is but it never hurts to experiment.

Before ordering your first pair of prescription goggles, consider testing out a few cheaper pairs of various sizes and designs. This will give you a frame of reference for how you’d like to swim with prescription lenses and what to look for.

->Lens Tint

Swimming in a sun-drenched ocean or pool can be surprisingly bright, as can spending time on the beach without changing your glasses. Glare and squinting through the sun can become a big part of vacations and swim activities which is why it makes perfect sense to choose swim goggles with tint like sunglasses. Of course, swimming comes with a completely different set of needs in terms of both glare and color filtering as opposed to driving or playing field sports.

Blues are the most popular tints because they are designed to reduce water surface glare and provide good visibility in bright lights. However, if you like to swim in dimly lit indoor pools or outside during darker times of day, you may want red, amber, or even pink tinted lenses instead. If you just want to reduce the brightness of your beach and poolside adventures, simple mirroring or smoke tint will do.

Some prescription goggle manufacturers even offer transition lenses that will adjust lens shading based on how bright your surroundings are.

->Frame Size and Style

There are a lot of different frame styles for swim goggles because there are a lot of different ways to swim. People who race or do lap swimming usually prefer racing style goggles. These often fit tightly into your eye sockets, providing the least hydrodynamic pull and ensuring that they are always perfectly in place. However, racing goggles are often very tight, mildly uncomfortable, and feature small hard skirts around the eyes for efficient but not soft water sealing.

Recreational goggle frames, on the other hand, tend to have larger lenses, more peripheral vision, and come out further onto the face. They will also usually feature softer silicone suction skirts that are more comfortable on the face.

On the far end of this spectrum are goggles that are nearly a mask without the nose cover. These cross at the forehead and flare out to the cheeks and might even have a single lens that crosses the face. They are the most comfortable and common for swimmers who like to spend a very long time in the water.

->Nose Piece

The nose piece is the portion of goggle that connects one eyepiece to the other. The size of your goggle’s nose piece will determine a very important part of your goggle’s fit. If you have a particularly large nose or eyes set some distance from each other, you may need a larger nose piece. If your face is very small, you may need a nose piece that holds the eyes closer together.

Many goggle designs come with adjustable nosepieces for a reasonable range and some even come in kits so you can use your own nose strap material of whatever size you want.

->Head Strap

The head strap is the part of the goggles that loops behind your eyes and holds them to your head. Anyone who’s been wearing cheap grocery store goggles since they were children knows that not all head straps were created equal. While all goggles come with somewhat adjustable head straps, the quality and size of the head strap, along with your ability to use settings, can matter a great deal.

Make sure you have a head strap and fastener combination that works well for you and doesn’t become loose over time. You may also want to consider your ideal swimming hairstyle when choosing a head strap, including a material that will hold tight without pulling your hair.

->The Right Fit

Even after you’ve considered all of your preferences, it’s still important to find a pair of goggles that fits correctly on your face to form a comfortable seal. The best way to ensure this is with the suction test. Look down at the ground and press your goggles up into place so that they suction to your face, then take away your hands. Your goggles should hang comfortably on your face, supported by the suction, for at least several seconds before releasing.

This means that the goggles are a good shape to seal correctly to your face and it’s time for the final decision-making process.

->Long-Term Comfort

The right prescription goggles for vacations and adventures will need to be comfortable all day long. If you go on a snorkeling trip, to a pool part, or any other event where you will be in and out of the water all day, you’re not going to want to switch back and forth from your glasses. Prescription goggles are ideal for this purpose, especially if they don’t leave your face sore after wearing them for a few hours.

The final test is to give yourself a day in the pool over the next weekend to discover just how comfortable your new prescription goggles can be. With the right selection process, you’ll find yourself with the ideal pair of prescription swim goggles that you can wear to the pool, beach, or water park.

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