Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise, but for those with vision impairment, the underwater world can become a blurry, confusing mess without the right gear. Prescription swim goggles are a game changer in this scenario, enhancing clarity and ensuring safety while swimming. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process on how to choose prescription swim goggles.
Why Prescription Swim Goggles?
Enhancing Underwater Visibility
For individuals with vision impairments, prescription swim goggles are essential for clear underwater vision. These goggles correct vision similar to eyeglasses or contact lenses, allowing you to see clearly and navigate the underwater environment confidently.
Protecting the Eyes
Prescription swim goggles also protect the eyes from the potentially harmful effects of chlorine, salt, and other chemicals present in pool or sea water, reducing the risk of irritation or infection.
With prescription swim goggles, you won’t need to worry about losing a contact lens in the pool or struggling to see without your glasses. They offer a practical and convenient solution to vision-related challenges while swimming.
Understanding Your Prescription
To purchase the right pair of prescription swim goggles, you first need to understand your eyeglass prescription. The key values in your prescription are Sphere (SPH), Cylinder (CYL), and Axis.
The sphere is a value in your prescription that indicates the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness. It’s measured in diopters. A negative sign before the number signifies nearsightedness, while a positive sign indicates farsightedness.
Cylinder (CYL) and Axis
These numbers refer to the presence and orientation of any astigmatism you might have. Astigmatism is a condition where the eye isn’t completely round, causing blurring or distortion of vision.
Selecting the Right Prescription Strength
Most prescription swim goggles use a method known as “step diopter” to correct vision. They come in strengths that increase by 0.5 diopters, starting from 0 and going up to -10.00 or higher. If your prescription falls between these steps, round down to the nearest available strength for the most comfortable experience.
Choosing the Style
There are numerous styles of prescription swim goggles available on the market, and the best choice largely depends on your personal preferences and needs.
Recreational Swim Goggles
These are suitable for casual swimming, water aerobics, or beach vacations. They’re generally comfortable, with larger lenses and softer seals for longer wear.
Competitive Swim Goggles
Designed for swim races and training, these goggles have a sleek, low-profile design that reduces drag and enhances speed in the water. They fit closely to the eye socket for a secure fit.
Mask Style Goggles
Ideal for diving and open-water swimming, these goggles provide a wider field of vision than traditional swim goggles. They’re comfortable and easy to adjust but can cause more drag due to their larger size.
Additional Features to Consider
Various lens tints are available, each offering different benefits. Clear lenses are best for indoor swimming or low-light conditions. Tinted lenses, like blue or smoke, are suitable for medium-light conditions. Mirrored or polarized lenses are the best choice for outdoor swimming as they reduce glare and offer UV protection.
Look for goggles with an anti-fog coating on the lenses. This feature is crucial for maintaining clear vision in the water.
Adjustable Nose Bridge
Everyone’s face shape is different, so adjustable nose bridges can be helpful for achieving a perfect fit.
Comfort and Fit
Comfort should never be overlooked when choosing prescription swim goggles. Soft silicone seals provide a comfortable and leak-free fit. Make sure to try them on to ensure they fit snugly and comfortably against your face.
Trying Them Out
Once you’ve received your goggles, it’s time to test them out. Make sure you have a clear field of vision, both out of and in the water. Check for any signs of discomfort or leakage. If everything seems perfect, you’re ready to go.
Choosing the right prescription swim goggles is a step towards safer, more enjoyable underwater adventures. Whether you’re a competitive swimmer aiming for a personal best or someone who just loves a good swim, the right pair of goggles can make a significant difference in your experience. So take your time, understand your needs and preferences, and make an informed decision.