I learnt to swim when I was around four years old. It’s been something I’ve always enjoyed and while I’m not the worlds best swimmer I’m competent. There is however one problem. I wear glasses and I’m very shortsighted. This has always left me with either swimming in my glasses which while possible isn’t great and doesn’t work underwater or swimming without my glasses blind as a bat.
I considered contact lenses with a standard pair of goggle or mask but I’ve tried contact lenses and never quite managed to get on with them well. That leaves me with prescription contact lenses. I’ve checked them out multiple times over the years but they’ve just been too expensive to get in my ever changing prescription to justify for my occasional use.
The Aqua Sphere Eagle Swimming Goggles solved this problem. In the past I’d have had to have a set of goggles made up for my prescription but the Eagle’s get around the problem by being modular. You buy the frame and the lenses separately and then just clip them together. This has the advantage of simplicity and means that if your prescription changes you can just change the lens and carry on.
So how do you pick the right lens? The prescription you get from your optician will probably have sphere and cylinder values for each eye goggles measure in a figure called diopter strength. The formula to use is half cylinder added to the sphere is the diopter strength. So if you had sphere of -5.0 and a cylinder of +2.0, then (1/2 x +2.0) + -5.0 = -4.0 step diopter lens. Keeping the positive and negative correct is very important!
Once I had the lenses and frame you need to attach the together. The frame ships with a pair of non-prescription lenses and these pop out of the rubber seal with a little pressure at the edges. The new lenses go in the same way in reverse – it’s a little fiddly until you get the order right but once in should not need changing and I’ve never had them pop out on their own.
I found the frame very comfortable and once adjusted it worked very well. It took me a minute or so to adjust – the lenses are not as perfectly tuned as my everyday glasses which put things slightly out of focus until I readjusted my expectations. The only other downside is if you pull up your goggles you lose vision. Spending most of the time in the water actively swimming this isn’t a problem but if you are in and out of the water a lot you may want to keep your glasses close by to switch to.
Price: Frame – £14.49, Lenses £8.37 – 11.50,
Included in the box: Frame and lenses sold separately – note lenses are sold single and two are needed although they are reversible – no left and right variants
About Aqua Sphere
Aqua Sphere was formed in Italy in 1997 they started making the Seal Swim Mask aimed at Iron Man swimmers as well as for jet-skiing and surfing. They have diversified and now make a range of specialized goggles and masks as well as high end swim wear.
- Designed for adults, but would work for teens depending on size
- Colors and designs are unisex with one transparent and one blue lined
- Adjustable strap length
- Lens are UV protective to 100% – but not tinted.
- Lenses are anti-fog which seems to work well provided you wash them out in pool water before use.
- Lenses individually sold and fitted so if you have different prescriptions for each eye you can accommodate this.
Environment & People
The strap and lens surrounds are made of silicone which is hypoallergenic for most people.
The total price tag for my goggles was £31.29. If I’d gone with specifically made goggles the price would have been near double (I need strong lenses!) and all the other similar systems have similar prices. If you have a prescription that is changing regularly this is also a more economic route as you would only have to rebuy lenses.
I’ve been swimming for a long time but until I tried these goggles I genuinely didn’t know that you could see clearly underwater. The cliche night and day gets overused but really fits for me here. I was concerned about them leaking, particularly around where the lens is changeable, but the worry was groundless. Apart from a little steaming up until I realised I should wash them out before use, they were perfect.
It’s simple. If you have bad vision and want to swim, you should have a pair of these. No question. Highly recommended.
The review is based on the Aqua Sphere Eagle Swimming Goggles with 5.5 minus diopter lenses More information about our eco icons and access icons is available.
This article was first published on the 6th April 2016.