Sports + Leisure

Glasses for water sports

Whether you like sailing, surfing, diving or swimming, what's the secret to choosing a great pair of water sports glasses?

16 October 2021
  • Glasses for water sports

Spray and salt water, extreme reflections and constantly changing light are just some of the challenges faced by sports eyewear designers in their quest to provide perfect vision for people who enjoy water sports and water-based activities. So what exactly are the benefits of water sports glasses? And what are the best models for surfers, sailors, swimmers and other water sports enthusiasts?

Basic requirements for water sports glasses

Whether you enjoy sailing, diving or surfing, the eyewear you choose for your water sports should provide 100 per cent protection against harmful UV-A and UV-B rays. For sunglasses without prescription lenses, look for the CE mark and EN 1836:1997 label to ensure you are properly protected. To achieve glare-free vision, experts recommend an integrated polarisation filter and suitably coated lenses that are as hard-wearing and resistant to breakage as possible. The frame should be durable and robust, too, and preferably made of a strong, lightweight and shatter-proof material. Sunglasses with ZEISS Skylet® lenses are a great choice for virtually all types of water sports: available in a wide range of tints and functional designs that have been carefully tailored to activities including swimming, surfing and sailing, they offer the perfect basis for a pair of water sports glasses.

What are the best water sports glasses for sailing and surfing?

Sunlight creates dazzling reflections on the surface of the water which can lead to significantly impaired vision for surfers and sailors. That's why water sports glasses with professional glare reduction are a good choice for these types of activities. With their attractive brown tint, ZEISS Skylet® Sport sun protection lenses are specially designed to meet the challenging visual conditions encountered during sailing and surfing. Water sports enthusiasts appreciate solutions that offer perfectly clear vision with superior colour contrast enhancement in medium to intense sunlight. But it's not just light and water that put a strain on our eyes – biting winds can also cause problems. Some frames for water sports glasses include a removable inner frame specifically designed to protect the wearer from the wind, typically made from a material such as waterproof foam rubber. As well as being more comfortable, this also offers long-term protection for your eyes against painful inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea.

Tip: When choosing a frame and lenses for water sports use, experts agree that wrap-around protection is better because it blocks glare and reflections that could otherwise reach your eyes through the sides or from below. It is also important to choose an adjustable strap to ensure that your sailing or surfing sunglasses always fit snugly and securely without causing any discomfort. For intense sports that require sunglasses with even better grip, rubber nose pads and temple tips can be useful additions. Many of the latest models of water sports glasses for surfers and yachting enthusiasts also come with a floating frame designed to ensure that the glasses always remain on the surface instead of sinking. Some models even include a special catch that allows you to swap the rubber strap for temple arms at the touch of a button – perfect for rapidly converting your water sports sunglasses into leisure eyewear, and a major plus for spectacle wearers who would otherwise have to carry a second pair of glasses.

Swimming goggles with prescription lenses

Goggles offer multiple benefits for water-based activities, protecting your eyes from chlorine and salt water and keeping out bacteria when swimming in a lake or the sea. But there are a few important things to remember. Perhaps the most crucial advice is to choose goggles that offer a snug all-round fit so that no water gets in during even the most strenuous activities. Adjustable straps are the key to optimum comfort, enabling you to change the tightness of the goggles as required. When it comes to goggle lenses, a tint can make all the difference. Swim goggles are also available with the wearer's personal prescription. Most models can be supplied with lenses in standard prescriptions – consult your optician for more information.

For divers: contact lenses or a diving goggles with prescription lenses?

If you are looking for a vision aid for just a few days of water sports – for example for your next holiday – then one-day disposable contact lenses might be the best solution. This minimises the frustration if you lose them, and it means you can always have a spare pair on hand. Divers who wear spectacles should always use lenses that match their prescription because our eyes are just as important for keeping our balance underwater as they are on land. Leaving defective vision uncorrected can result in a loss of balance – something that is particularly dangerous for divers. It's worth noting, however, that wearing contact lenses under diving goggles takes some getting used to, for example, in situations where the goggles fill with water. If you enjoy diving on a more regular basis, it may be better to choose diving goggles with lenses ground to your individual prescription requirements to correct your underwater vision. Your ZEISS optician will be happy to help you decide which option is best for you.

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