If you wear prescription glasses to see clearly, swim goggles with your exact prescription can be obtained. But it's very expensive and time-consuming. Most swimmers don't require this expensive solution and their needs can be solved with less expensive and quick to obtain corrective lens goggle solutions. The important thing here is to make sure that the variety of your needs are taken into consideration and the right solution is chosen.
The Corrective Lenses
Correction/optical goggles come with ready-made spherical lenses of varying strengths known as dioptres, or step dioptres. This type of lens production is similar to the generic reading glasses found in pharmacies: the prescription will be a close match to your own, but may not be as precise as that in the prescription glasses or contact lenses you use every day. For use in the water (an already-blurry environment), step dioptre corrective lens goggles are perfectly adequate. They are also more widely available and affordable than custom-made prescription goggles from an optometrist.
As a swimmer you probably just need to see objects in the distance, therefore a distance only correction lens can be used with selected goggles. The solution is what we call Negative Dioptre Lenses for short/near-sighted people with myopia. It's a negative correction to the whole lens. Lenses range in dioptres from -2.0 to -10.0 and typically come in increments of 0.5.
For some swimmers it's the reverse and and they need Positive Diopre Lenses for near vision issues. The solution is what we call positive corrective lens goggles — a positive correction to the whole lens — for long/far-sighted people with hypermetropia. Lenses range in dioptres from +1.0 to +6.0 and again typically come in increments of 0.5.
To order, you can consult your eyeglass, or contact, prescription for the proper amount of spherical power correction. A spectacle prescription is usually written in the following form:
|OD / R||-3.00||/||-0.50||x||180|
|OS / L||-3.50||/||-1.00||x||180|
In order to calculate the power you need to take into account the two aspects of your prescription.
- The sphere (or sph) is the main part of your prescription and will be '–' for short-sightedness (myopia) and '+' for long-sightedness (hypermetropia).
- The cylinder (or cyl) is the secondary part of your prescription and refers to the amount of astigmatism you have.
We need the dioptre (diopter) value for each eye. When reading your prescription, 'OS' means your left eye, and 'OD' means your right eye.
You could base the power you order primarily on the amount of short or long-sightedness you have. If you also have a moderate degree of astigmatism (up to 2.00), you could also incorporate up to half of this to choose the most appropriate power. If the result is a quarter dioptre prescription, then you should typically increase to the next higher/stronger dioptre. For example, if the Rx is -1.75, then increase to -2.0 dioptre. If the Rx is +1.75, then increase to +2.0 dioptre. If one eye needs no correction, then order a 'Normal' or 'Plano' lens for that side.
If this all sounds very complicated, it's because it is! You will find websites that let you enter your script values to calculate the two values we need. We know the formula they use, but our optometrist friends tell us using this method would often lead to disappointed customers. It's just not that simple.
The decision about the values you need is best done by your optometrist as they know best what's going on with your eyes, and sometimes those other values in your script come into play.
Once you know the dioptre values you need, you can then select goggles for which the range or dioptre values available matches your requirements.
What If I Have Astigmatism?
None of the 'off the shelf' corrective lens goggles correct astigmatism, so if the majority of your prescription is astigmatism, or you have astigmatism over 2.00 dioptres, you will need a custom made product for best visual results.
If your astigmatism is less than 2.00 dioptres, or is not the majority of correction, then the corrective lens goggles solutions we can provide should be fine. This is another reason why you should consult your optometrist.
Please Consult your Optometrist
We strongly recommend that you consult your optometrist about which swimming vision correction solution is best for you. We recommend you show them this information. Your optometrist will be able to work out which corrective solutions are available to you and make recommendations as to what to get, plus provide the two dioptre values we need.
We are not optometrists and can't read your script to determine if a corrective lens goggle will work for you. Correction/optical lenses typically will work for the vast majority of people, but some eye shapes can't be accommodated this way.
Your prescription may need to be changed because the distance between the lens of your swimming goggles and your eyes typically is different from the distance between your eyeglasses lenses and your eyes. (This also is one of the reasons your contact lens prescription is different from your eyeglass prescription if you have moderate or high myopia.) An eye care professional specialising in sports eyewear can adjust your prescription for swimming use.
Your optometrist will also be able to provide you with the best spherical correction dioptre values for your left and right eyes given the half dioptre increments of corrective lenses. Then you can order your corrective lens goggles from The Scuba Doctor with confidence in achieving a great outcome.
Melbourne: David Glennie is an optometrist and experienced scuba diver. His team can check your eyes and translate your script into the values we need for your corrective lenses. They can even show you how it will work.
David Glennie, Karingal Optical
Shop 39, Karingal Hub, 330 Cranbourne Road, Frankston VIC 3199
Tel. 03 9789 4811 www.facebook.com/KaringalOptical/
Whatever your preference, there are plentiful corrective/optical lens options available to ensure that everyone can see clearly to experience the beauty and wonder of the underwater world while swimming.
Fitting the Correction Lenses
If you buy your swim goggles complete with two corrective lenses from The Scuba Doctor, we will fit the optical lenses to the goggles for you before sending the swimming goggles out.
Corrective Lens Goggles Delivery
Order today and your goggles with corrective lenses will usually Ship the next Business Day.
We typically place orders for your goggles with corrective lenses to our suppliers the same day we receive the order from you. In some cases, they will be shipped directly to you from the suppliers the same business day, or if not, the next business day. The suppliers are Sydney based, so you need to allow for the usual postal delivery times for the package to reach you.
Prescription swimming goggles may be a bit more expensive than non-prescription goggles, but they are still very affordable (and getting more so every year). If you are having trouble deciding which optical swim goggles to buy, consider asking your optometrist. Once you have your goggles, it may take a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the new lens, but after a short adjustment period, you should be able to use them adequately in the pool.
Contact Lens Wearers: Not all contact lenses are suitable for swimming. Gas permeable lenses (GP lenses) can 'dig' into the eyes below certain depths, because of the pressure. Soft contact lenses can collect waterborne organisms and become contaminated, causing eye infections. If you wear contact lenses under your goggles for swimming, you need to make sure you blink a lot. Excessive starring can cause bubbles to form underneath your lenses and which may cause minor discomfort and temporary blurring of vision. Also, be sure to have a spare set of contacts (or glasses) available in case you lose a contact underwater.
Health Fund Refunds
As best as we can tell, you will be unable to claim for a refund from your health fund for the supply of corrective lens goggles. Most health funds require a medical provider item code for a claim to be successful and no dive manufacturer or dive shop we know of has this. However, you may wish to check with your health fund to see if they are more generous.
Please read our guide to buying Prescription Goggles for Swimming.