Selecting the ideal pair of swimming goggles might appear to be a straightforward endeavor at first glance. However, for those with vision correction needs, the task might get a bit complex. Anyone with refractive errors, such as myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism knows, the world can turn into a blurry challenge as soon as the eyeglasses or contact lenses come off. With over two billion people suffering globally from these afflictions, the struggle is real and widely shared. Now imagine plunging into the pool and trying to navigate through the water-logged, distorted vision. This is where prescription swimming goggles come to the rescue. They are crafted with corrective lenses according to your eyeglass prescription, enabling clear vision underwater in addition to shielding eyes from water and chlorine. These goggles are crucial for competitive swimming and equally convenient for leisure swimmers aiming for a safe and enjoyable experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive into the crucial factors of selecting a perfectly suited pair that not only meets your individual requirements but also significantly elevates your swimming experience.
Understanding Prescription Swim Goggles
So, how do they work? Similar to eyeglasses, they have lenses crafted to correct the user’s refractive error, offering clearer vision underwater. These pair provide a significant advantage over regular glasses or contacts, particularly avoiding the risk of eye infections that can occur when swimming with contacts, like the feared Acanthamoeba infection.
How are they different from the non-prescription goggles? Non-prescription goggles provide protection from water and chlorine but lack corrective lenses. Prescription goggles can range from premade goggles, available in set prescription strengths, to custom prescription goggles crafted explicitly according to your prescription values provided by your optometrist.
Unveiling the Advantages
The decision to invest in goggles for swimming comes with an array of benefits that will drastically enhance your swimming experience.
Immediate improvement in vision: It is central to any form of aquatic activity, competitive or recreational. With precision-crafted lenses according to your eyeglass prescription, you no longer have to squint to sight the lane ropes or guess your surroundings;
Protection: They not only shield your eyes from water but also offer defense against harmful chlorine and microbes that often occupy shared swimming spaces. Such protection is crucial to avoid stinging sensations, blurry vision, or even more severe eye conditions;
Choice: Prescription swimming goggles come in a comprehensive range of strengths or diopters, allowing you to find the perfect pair that matches your needs.
However, one crucial distinction to understand is the difference between premade and custom prescription goggles. Premade goggles are a quickly accessible and affordable option with standard prescription strengths. They are ideal if your refractive error is relatively common. On the other hand, custom prescription goggles are tailor-made to your precise eye prescription, accommodating a wider range of strengths, and even catering to those who have a different prescription for each eye. Opting for custom goggles can bring an unparalleled level of visual clarity and comfort.
Decoding Your Eyeglass Prescription to Choose Goggle Strength
Choosing the right prescription strength for your goggles heavily relies on understanding your eyeglass prescription. So it’s crucial to decode the common terms often mentioned in your prescription: Spherical and Cylinder.
The term ‘Spherical’ (often abbreviated as sph) represents the lens power needed to rectify myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness). It is measured in diopters, and a negative sign before the number usually indicates short-sightedness, while a positive denotes long-sightedness. A cylinder (denoted as cyl), on the other hand, represents astigmatism correction. Like the spherical measure, it’s also expressed in diopters and comprises positive and negative values.
Now, as for calculating the strength or diopter of your swimming goggles, you apply a simple formula ‘Diopters = Spherical Measure + (Cylinder Measure/2)’. Remember, in optometry, every increment or decrement by 0.25 is noticeable. Thus, when calculating, if decimal values are obtained, the more appropriate approach is to round down, not up, to avoid getting lenses too strong.
Thus, understanding these elements allows you to select the proper lens strength that’s suitable for your vision correction needs. Do note, however, this method gives a generally close approximation. For a more precise selection, especially with complicated prescriptions, consultation with an optometrist is advisable.
Selecting the Goggle Model
Besides strength, several other features like lens tints, frame types, UV protection, and anti-fog coatings critically influence the selection of goggles. For instance, colored or tinted lenses enhance certain types of light and can improve contrast and depth perception.
Frames are predominantly contingent on the user’s preference. Some swimmers might prefer the comfort and wide field of vision offered by silicone-sealed swim masks. Others might opt for the more streamlined and less obtrusive standard rubber-sealed eyecup style.
UV protection and anti-fog coatings are pretty standard features for any quality goggles. UV protection shields your eyes from the harmful UVA and UVB rays while swimming outdoors.
Anti-fog coating is also a valuable addition. Swimmers understand the struggle of lenses fogging up during their swim. This coating, made with surfactants, prevents the condensation of small water droplets, providing a clear view underwater.
There is a range of trusted brands available. Choosing prescription swim goggles brand comes down to your personal needs, desired features, and budget.
Essential Tips for the Care and Maintenance
Once you’ve chosen the appropriate prescription swim goggles, it’s crucial to adequately maintain and care for them to guarantee longevity and consistent performance. Proper fitting and frequent cleaning are key aspects of these maintenance procedures.
Starting with the fitting and adjustment process, most goggles come with easily adjustable straps and interchangeable nose bridges. To ensure the perfect fit, position the goggles onto your eyes and adjust the strap so it sits comfortably against the back of your head. Remember, it should be neither too tight which might lead to discomfort or markings around the eyes, nor too loose which might allow water to seep in. The nose bridge should allow the goggles to sit comfortably without pinching your nose. It’s highly recommended to adjust and test the fit before you get into the water.
As for cleaning and maintenance, rinsing your goggles with clean, fresh tap water after every swim is crucial. This simple routine washes off chlorine, salt water, or any dirt that could gradually damage the lens material over time. Do not use soap or detergents as these can potentially harm the lens surface and degrade the anti-fog coating.
When drying, let your goggles air dry naturally away from direct sunlight or heat, as these can warp the lenses and their shape. Resist all temptation to wipe the lenses with a towel or cloth to speed up the drying process, as small particles of dirt or grit on the lens surface could create scratches and diminish the quality of vision over time.
For those with vision correction needs, prescription swimming goggles are a valuable investment. They offer the advantage of clear vision underwater and can significantly enhance your swimming experience. While the initial cost might seem high, especially for custom orders, the benefits they provide — improved performance, enhanced safety, and increased comfort — make them well worth the investment. Happy swimming!