- Why Are Swim Goggles Important?
- Optimum Protection for the Eyes
- Prescription & Non-Prescription
- Choosing a Pair of Goggles
- Best Goggles for Swimming Laps
- Best Goggles for Beginning or Casual Adult Swimmers
- Best Goggles for Racers
- Best Regular Swim Goggles for Young & Beginning Swimmers
- Optical-Recommended Best Prescription Goggles for Kids Who Swim Competitively
- Final Thoughts
Swimming goggles protect your eyes when you swim. Swim goggles are designed with two pieces, made of two clear pieces of plastic with silicone or rubber rim, that are fitted snugly to your head with a stretchy band. This seals the eyes, so they’re protected from chlorine and water.
Why Are Swim Goggles Important?
Goggles allow you to see clearly underwater by adjusting the refraction of light. Under normal conditions or above water, light is directed through the cornea to the lens onto the back part of the eye, or the retina. Images are then transmitted to the optic nerve to the center of the brain, so you can see.
When light refracts, normally, beams of light travel from the air into the denser cornea. However, when you’re underwater, the water is about as dense as the cornea. This causes problems with refraction. That’s why, without goggles, things look blurry.
Because of the seal they provide, swimming goggles create a pocket of air, allowing the light to refract as it should so you can see things clearly, without distortions.
Researchers and ophthalmologists promote the use of swim goggles, especially for patients who present a high risk of developing glaucoma or corneal ectasia (one possible, albeit rare, complication after LASIK).
Optimum Protection for the Eyes
Swim goggles (SGs) may be designed for swimming pools, freshwater, or ocean wear. Therefore, when you choose goggles, you should consider their specific use.
Goggles for Pools & Swimming Laps
Goggles protect the eyes from chlorine and other chemicals in a swimming pool.. The pH balance of the pool may also irritate the eyes. Pool chemicals may also wash away the eye’s tear film, causing a good deal of discomfort.
Goggles for Ocean Swimmers
If you swim in the ocean, the salt content can dehydrate the eyes and cause them to burn or sting.
Why You Simply Cannot Go Without Goggles
Both public pools and freshwater hold bacteria and impurities, requiring adequate eye protection.
Prescription & Non-Prescription Goggles
If you wear eyeglasses, you can buy prescription goggles when swimming. The same holds true if you wear contact lenses. While some swimmers combine the use of contact lenses with non-prescription goggles, it’s wiser to purchase prescription goggles if you wear eyeglasses or contact lenses.
Swimming Goggles for Contact Lens Wearers
While goggles protect your eyes from irritants and distortion, it is still advisable not wear contacts with goggles. That’s because small amounts of water can still get inside the eyewear, allowing bacteria to grow on contact lenses. This can trigger a corneal infection, which can also lead to a corneal ulcer.
Research shows that it’s still better to goggle your eyes if you do wear contact lenses. The preferred approach, however, is to avoid wearing the contacts and to wear prescription goggles instead.
To support this point, another study showed, for example, that wearing hydrophilic lenses when swimming led to the buildup of bacteria on the lens material. Therefore, investigators concluded that it was best for swimmers to wear tight-fitting goggles if they chose to wear contacts.
Again, if you wear contacts or eyeglasses, it’s best to buy prescription goggles to protect your eyes when you swim.
Choosing a Pair of Goggles
Goggles are available for both adults and children in both non-prescription and prescription styles.
Reviewing the Main Features
Before you dive into choosing some goggles, you need to look for certain features when making a selection. You can narrow your search by reviewing the goggles’ primary features, which includes the seal, nose bridge, and type of lens.
The best swimming goggles don’t allow water to seep inside while providing good comfort for the wearer. In other words, you should not see an imprint around your eyes when you take them off. Consider your face shape when choosing goggles, as that may affect the seal as well.
Choose a rubber gasket around the eyes versus one made of foam. For anyone who sprints laps in the morning or is involved in racing, a tighter gasket is better. If you’re more of a casual swimmer, look for goggles that feature a gasket positioned farther from the eye.
Naturally, you’re going to feel some pressure if you want to keep water out, so make sure your strap is thinner so you can enjoy more comfort. While a rubber gasket may be more comfortable, silicone is a better material for creating a seal. It can also be used on most face shapes.
Your strap should feature a plastic adjustment, so you can position and securely fit your goggles for comfort.
The Nose Bridge
For a more secure fit, you can use adjustable nose-bridge pieces. This add-on is often helpful for intermediate to advanced swimmers but not entirely required for beginners, casual swimmers, or kids.
Most of the top choice goggles have three different sizes of interchangeable nose bridges. Otherwise, one size may be adapted to various face shapes.
The lenses you choose will relate to your type of swimming activity. If you swim outdoors, you want to look for UV-protective lenses that are mirrored or polarized for vision safety. Tight, curved low-profile lenses are ideal for competitive swimmers.
If you’re not aiming for speed, you’ll probably prefer flatter and broader lenses, as they’re more comfortable and offer less distortion. Unless you’re super selective, you don’t need to focus too much on the shape or feature of a lens. It’s more important to concentrate on how the goggles feel on your face.
Best Goggles for Swimming Laps: The Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 SG
These goggles are recommended by opticians and swim coaches. The Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 SG is a superb choice for people who swim laps or race for the following reasons:
Slim-Fit Silicone Seal
The seal keeps the water out but makes the goggles comfortable to wear.
You can adapt your nose bridge on the goggles to fit your swimming style or activity. The goggles come with four interchangeable pieces.
The lenses are curved and will not fog up. They also are fully resistant to UV rays. You can get mirrored lenses as well for outdoor activities.
You can choose from several popular colors in this style.
A Unisex & Face-Friendly Design
Both men and women can wear the goggles, and they fit well on various face shapes.
- The lenses are curved, and they can be used in foggy conditions.
- The goggles are resistant to damaging UV rays.
- Both men and women can wear the goggles, and they adhere to various face shapes.
- They come in mirrored lenses for outdoor use.
- You can choose from a variety of colors.
Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 goggles are touted by both swim instructors and swimmers alike.
Best Goggles for Beginning or Casual Adult Swimmers: Aqua Sphere Seal 2.0
If you’re a casual or beginning adult swimmer, you’ll find that the Aqua Sphere Seal Unisex 2.0 goggles may be ideally suited to your needs. They feature these benefits:
Premium Gaskets & Seal
These glasses provide a scuba-style rubber seal, so they can be used at the pool or when swimming in freshwater or the ocean.
One-Size Nose Bridge
The one-size nose bridge allows you to wear the goggles without having to hassle with a center nosepiece.
The frame is wide, adding to clearer vision and a more comfortable design. These goggles, unlike styles that create a suction around the eyes, sit outside the eye socket, thereby eliminating that raccoon effect when you emerge from the water.
Swimmers love the fact that these goggles don’t fog up when they swim since they come with an anti-fog coating.
You can also get these goggles with prescription lenses.
Best Goggles for Racers: TYR Black Hawk Mirrored/Non-Mirrored (Regular & Corrective) Racing Goggles
If you enjoy competitive swimming, especially racing, your choice of goggles must be anti-fog and lightweight. You’ll find these amenities as well as other desirable features in the TYR Black Hawk Racing Goggles displayed online. You’ll find several good reasons to choose these goggles, such as these.
Quality Slim-Fit Seal
The goggles feature a slim-fit seal made of silicone to keep the water out and increase wearing comfort and durability.
You can adjust the fit of your goggles with five removable nose bridges, which makes them adaptable to most face types.
The lenses are lightweight as well as curved and low profile. They won’t fog up while you’re swimming, and they are mirrored for outdoor use. You can also buy them in a non-mirrored design if you so choose.
Corrective Lenses & Non-Mirrored Styles
You can also get the goggles in a prescription, non-mirrored design or simply in a non-mirrored style. All lenses are made with a polycarbonate material to keep UV rays out and add an extra measure of safety.
One drawback to these goggles is that the polarized lenses have been discontinued. Often, polarization is better than mirrored lenses while swimming, as the polarized kind grabs horizontal light and blocks it, which further diminishes reflection and glare.
Best Regular Swim Goggles for Young & Beginning Swimmers: Aqua Sphere Vista Junior SGs
The Aqua Sphere Vista Junior SGs are superior for kids, as their features enable kids to learn swimming more easily and be more confident during the activity.
Quality Safety Seal
These kids’ swim goggles come with a scuba-styled rubber seal for more comfort and visual safety. This makes the goggles ideal for kids who are learning to swim.
The mask-type goggles allow kids to stay under the water longer, which also enhances their breathing skills. The goggles’ skirt-style seals, commonly found on snorkeling goggles, offers plenty of protection from water leaks.
One-Size Nose Bridge
The one-size nose bridge makes using the goggles hassle-free, and they are easy to wear.
The frame is wider, which broadens the field of vision, increasing swimmer confidence.
The lenses on the goggles keep your child’s eyes fully protected from UV light.
The goggles come in a variety of colorful options, all which may encourage your child to want to wear their goggles.
Optical-Recommended Best Prescription Goggles for Kids Who Swim Competitively
Some of the best prescription goggles for kids who swim competitively are the Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Junior Swim Goggles. These PVC-and-latex-free goggles make it easy for kids who compete on swim teams to stay on top of their eye protection.
Premium Leak-Free Seal
The goggles’ silicone gaskets fit snugly and securely against the eye socket but are also cushioned for comfort.
Several Nose Piece Options
The goggles come with four nosepiece options, so they ensure a good fit.
Prescription corrective lenses do not fog and allow total UV protection.
The goggles only come in one color, white. Some children might find this boring, but if your kid is serious about swimming, the other features will ensure they’ll have a competitive edge.
You need goggles for swimming, so it’s important to find eye protection that meets your specific vision needs as a swimmer. The best way to make a choice is to review the features and see how they apply to your swimming style, your participation in the activity, and personal eye care needs.
The short-term effects of wearing swimming goggles on corneal biomechanics. (September 2022). International Ophthalmology.
Ectasia After LASIK. (January 2023). American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Do Swimming Goggles Limit Microbial Contamination of Contact Lenses? (April 2011). Optometry and Vision Science.
Bacterial Populations on Silicone Hydrogel and Hydrogel Contact Lenses After Swimming in a Chlorinated Pool. (February 2005). Optometry and Vision Science.
Effects of Wearing Swimming Goggles on non-invasive Tear Break-Up Time in a Laboratory Setting. (April–June 2022). Journal of Optometry.
Last Updated March 15, 2023
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