If you enjoy being in the water, but wear prescription glasses you may think your only options are to wear your glasses in the water or try to swim without them. While you may find it fairly easy to swim a few laps with your eyes closed, it’s actually a good idea to know where in the pool you’re swimming, especially if there are a lot of other people also in the pool. Wearing your glasses while swimming in a body of water, whether it is a swimming pool or the ocean, isn’t a good idea. Not only is there a risk of losing or damaging the glasses, but prescription glasses aren’t water-tight, so they leave your eyes exposed to chlorine and possible harmful bacteria in the water, which can lead to an eye infection. So, does wearing glasses mean you can’t go swimming or driving? Absolutely not, there are excellent options that will allow you to enjoy your favorite water activities. From swimming to snorkeling, here are a few options.
Swimming goggles are available in a wide range of shapes and designs, including prescription swimming goggles. They fit snug to prevent unwanted contaminants and bacteria from getting to your eyes, while allowing you to be able see safely underwater. Depending on the extent of your vision problems, you may be able to wear standard goggles; however, if you have astigmatism or if your vision is limited without glasses, prescription swimming goggles are recommended. However, for many people, a ready-made pair of swim goggles are typically enough to correct their vision for water sports. They are available in a wide range of varying strengths, which are known as step diopters or diopters; most are negative diopters, which are designed for myopic vision or nearsightedness. These ready-made goggles are similar to reading glasses, in that they may not match your prescription exactly, but they will improve your vision to a standard that will allow you to see clearly while swimming.
It is strongly advised that you avoid wearing glasses or contact lenses, especially without the protection of goggles, especially when snorkeling or diving because of the increased risk of getting an infection. Keep in mind that eye irritations and eye infections may threaten your sight. Snorkeling is a water activity that involves wearing a mask to block the air intake of your nose and a mouth guard that is fitted with a tube that extends out of the water. The mask allows you to breathe through your mouth while your face is underwater. Wearing a mask over glasses will allow the water to leak into the mask in the area of your head where your glasses reach the back of your ear, which breaks the seal between your face and the mask. The good news is there are snorkeling masks with vision correction available. A prescription mask is designed with your vision prescription, which allows you to see clearly underwater while fully protecting your eyes against the risk of infection from harmful bacteria found in water. Another option is fitting prescription lenses to a mask. Masks are available with a fixed place in the mask front that allows you to insert prescription lenses. The lenses easily slide into the fixed area, which allows you to have clearer vision and you can change the lenses as your prescription changes.
Water acts as a magnifier, so if you plan on only wading in the pool, you might be able to get by with wearing your glasses, but if you want to go under water for any length of time, prescription swimming goggles or a snorkel mask will help you correct your vision while underwater. If you have a common prescription and the prescription is the same in both eyes, you can generally wear ready-made prescription goggles or mask. If your prescription isn’t common, or it’s different in both eyes, then you will have the option of using swimming goggles or a mask that is customized to your prescription.
Check out this article on finding the right prescription swimming goggles: Buyer’s Guide: Prescription Swimming Goggles.