How to Swim With Glasses

Don’t give up swimming because you wear glasses -- work around them.
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Many bespectacled folks simply remove their glasses and tuck them into eyeglass cases, beach towels or their shoes to go swimming. Others are a little fussier and find those methods a bit careless. Some people don’t feel that they have the option to remove their glasses when they go into the water because their vision is so poor without them. Dependence upon your glasses is no reason to miss out on the fun and health benefits of swimming. There are a few practical ways around your dilemma.

    Step 1

    Attach an eyeglass cord, also known as an eyeglass leash or chain, to the arms of your glasses when you go into the water. This will prevent loss if you drop them. The chances are good that if you enter the water wearing glasses, they’re going to fall off. If that happens in the ocean, it may be difficult to find them. Elastic eyeglass cords that fit snugly around the back of the head are available for very active people. Once thought of strictly as an accessory for the older generation, cords are now fashion accessories that run the gamut from classy jewel-studded pieces to sporty styles.

    Step 2

    Look for a swim mask or goggles large enough to strap on over your glasses while they’re in place on your face. This will prevent water from getting into your eyes while keeping the glasses secure and free of splashed water droplets.

    Step 3

    Ask your optical professional about being fitted for contact lenses. If you swim often but don’t want to wear contacts on an everyday basis, keep a pair to use only when you swim. If you swim only occasionally, consider one-day contacts. They’re constructed for single-day use so you don’t have to clean or disinfect them -- just throw them away at the end of the day. These lenses are much cheaper than long-wear everyday contacts. Always use swim goggles or a mask while wearing contacts in or near the water to prevent losing your lenses should they fall out of your eyes.

    Step 4

    Consider pre-made stock Rx swimming goggles. Also known as step diopters, these goggles are similar to “reading glasses” available at drug stores. You’ll be able to see much better with these than without glasses at all, but not as well as you do with your normal eyeglass prescription. Stock Rx goggles correct for nearsightedness or farsightedness, but not for astigmatism. They’re typically satisfactory for people who have mild astigmatism, but aren’t much help for those with moderate to severe astigmatisms. These goggles are very inexpensive compared to prescription eyeglasses and don’t require a trip to the eye doctor.

    Step 5

    Consult your eyewear professional about having your prescription put into a custom diving mask or swim goggles if you swim often. The biggest advantage to using these is the freedom to wear them underwater, which is a major plus for people who love diving or snorkeling.

    Things You'll Need

    • Eyeglass cord

    • Large swim mask or goggles

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