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I wrote a post late last winter about my "swimming glasses". It got a lot of interest and feedback. I've spent an awful lot of time swimming this summer. Lots of jumping and diving off the back of the boat, and tons of time at the beach with the kids. Even as summer sadly starts to show it's age up here in the Great White North, I'm still trying to get in as much as I can and planning for a few trips over the winter to places with pools and water parks. I like the water.

I used to wear contacts swimming, but lost a few over the years -- back when they were expensive. Also, it's no fun driving home with only one good eye.

Anyway, I still love the idea of swimming glasses for a lot of what I do, but a few weeks ago, I was at the lake and there were about a half dozen enormous catfish swimming around in the swimming area. I'd have loved to be able to see them -- from beneath the surface.

It got me to thinking about the "prescription" swim goggles someone mentioned back then. I use quotes around "prescription" as they might be your prescription if your sphere measurement isn't a X.25 or X.75 (the economical versions are only available in half and whole numbers). Also, unless you want to spend significantly more, don't have an astigmatism more than a few degrees off of 0 or else you're going to be really uncomfortable.

I poked around and came up with a few options for those of you in the need. Each model allows for different prescription strength in each eye -- can you imagine that some DO NOT?

Hilco Prescription Swimming Goggles - $30.95
  • 100% UVA, UVB Protected
  • High Performance Anti-Fog Treatment and impact tested
  • Includes protective carrying case
  • Lens Available from -8.0 to +8.0 (some half steps -- i.e. -2.5, -3.5)

Ultra Comfort Prescription Swim Goggles - $27.95
  • Premium satin silicone seals and strap for ultimate comfort
  • Sleek black/blue look with tinted lenses
  • High Performance Anti-Fog Treatment
  • Ships with three sizes of nose bridge for better fit
  • Easy to assemble
  • Available in prescriptions for Myopia (near-sightedness) in powers from -1.5 to -8.0
  • 100% UVA, UVB Protected

ParMel Custom Optical Swim Goggles - $40.00 (including shipping)
  • Shatter resistant polycarbonate lenses
  • Anti-Fog Treated Lenses
  • Clear Lenses
  • 3 Size Nose Bridge

Children's Prescription Swimming Goggles - $30.95
  • 100% UVA, UVB Protected
  • High Performance Anti-Fog Treatment and impact tested
  • Easy to assemble
  • Children's Lens Available for Myopia (short-sightedness) and Hyperopia (far-sightedness) -5.0 to +8.0

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At August 26, 2008 at 10:29 PM Ira said...


Swimming goggles? Ira, it's almost September! Shouldn't you have written this in, say, May?

So my timing's off a bit. I should indeed have written this earlier in the summer, but I'm planning on still getting some swimming done over the winter -- and hopefully outdoors over the next few weeks.

At August 26, 2008 at 10:39 PM Ira said...


I ordered the Hilco. Hope to get them in the next couple of days.

Will update then.

At August 27, 2008 at 6:03 PM DES said...

Does anyone make swimming goggles in a stronger power (like -15), preferably for a reasonable price?

I had a pair of Rec Specs sports glasses made with -14/-15 polycarbonate lenses (not high index) -- but they were quite pricey, and they're not swimming goggles.

At August 27, 2008 at 8:04 PM Maria Stahl said...

You didn't preempt the obvious, though:


At August 27, 2008 at 10:44 PM Ira said...


They were giant though! Fascinating to be able to get close to them -- with the huge passenger jets flying only a few hundred feet over our heads at MSP. Need to be able to see IN and OUT of the water.

(My wife wasn't interested in it either.)

At August 28, 2008 at 7:47 AM CT CPA Pledge said...

I was directed here by Slate.

This is fantastic. I do not wear glasses, but my son has since he was three. He's almost 9 now, an avid swimmer, and he gets a new perscription every 6 months.

Thanks for putting this together


At August 28, 2008 at 10:49 AM Anonymous said...

What about the snorkel mask variety? the ones that cover the nose too? Any picks or tips?

At August 28, 2008 at 11:07 AM Ira said...


They certainly exist and appear to start at about $100. There are a number of hits if you google "prescription snorkel mask".

Good luck.

At August 29, 2008 at 10:13 AM John Speno said...

Two years ago I got a pair from

and they were perfect and cheap. They've held up well and made my enjoy swimming way more than I used to.

At August 30, 2008 at 10:00 AM Snotty McSnotterson said...

Great post, and something I desperately needed, because I end up swimming blindly. Also, I always *start* swimming in September, since all of the tots are back in school and it's less crowded. So I'm glad this was posted now!

At August 30, 2008 at 3:25 PM Anonymous said...

You can also get non-custom goggles with set prescriptions a bit cheaper than these (mine were $20 at a local swimming store.) For a casual swimmer, they work fine.

At August 30, 2008 at 8:18 PM DiscoBubba said...

I second the Aquagoggles suggestion by Pythonic as I ordered a pair that I'm quite happy with.

While researching this topic when summer started I found that the usual type of goggles work by creating a vacuum or suction on your eye sockets. The only other alternative I found was Barracuda's "Positive Pressure Seal Goggles" which use a sponge which supposedly conforms to the shape of your face and doesn't leave you with a ring around your eyes.

The only problem being that they cost at least twice as much as the solutions you've pointed out here and I found varying comments that they either worked great or didn't hold a seal well enough. Plus you can't get them in separate prescription diopters for each eye (they have to be the same strength for both eyes). Unless of course you call for custom made prescription, which I'm sure are much more costly.

At March 8, 2009 at 3:37 PM redwoodcub said...

I just got a pair of Aquagoggles and, like Pythonic Avocado and Disco Bubba, I'm very happy with them! Here are a few more details: Aquagoggles come in separate R and L prescriptions up to -10 diopters (myopia only), are fully assembled, and shipped in a hard, clear plastic case like Eyebuydirect. They have UVA-UVB protection and anti-fog coating, and cost only $23.95 plus 6.95 s&h.

At January 22, 2010 at 1:00 AM Unknown said...

Thanks for this post! I have been looking for prescription swim goggles for my son for a while, but the places I've found either had no kids goggles or only had Myopia lenses. You post pointed me to a place that has affordable goggles for hyperopia. I'm looking forward to him being able to see while swimming!

At July 14, 2011 at 10:14 PM jenny bento said...

this is great, but what's the issue with these and astigmatism?

At July 14, 2011 at 10:18 PM Ira said...


Great question. I have a moderate astigmatism and these work fine for me. Would I want to wear them all day? Not a chance, but I can see when I'm in the water. They were another slight financial risk that has paid off great.


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