I’m pretty short-sighted. I think my prescription is about -5.75 in one eye and about -6.5 in the other, plus corrections for astigmatism. I can just about stagger about the flat without specs or contact lenses, but I couldn’t go outside without them – I wouldn’t even make it down the two flights of stairs without breaking my neck. So swimming is more difficult than it would be for people with vision that actually works.
Until now, I’ve been wearing ordinary goggles over my contact lenses, but it’s not ideal. I always worry that if the goggles leak the lenses will fall out and be lost in the pool, plus it’s really not good for contact lenses to wear them in the pool. So I did some googling and found that it’s possible to get prescription goggles for under £30 now.
My Lovely Boyfriend got me a pair for Christmas. I checked with my optician what prescription to get, and she recommended -6 in each eye. You can get custom ones, made exactly to your prescription, but they’re much more expensive and that doesn’t seem necessary for swimming.
So, my Speedo Mariner Optical goggles are here and this morning I used them for the first time. The strap was set very tight at the factory and it took me ages to loosen it enough to be able to get the damn things over my head. The strap is also made of quite soft sticky rubbery stuff, so it sticks to my hair. Probably a good thing in terms of stopping the goggles moving around, but makes them much harder to get on/off. Once on, they fit reasonably well and they’re no more uncomfortable than any other goggles.
Vision wise, well, the power of the lenses is a bit of a blunt instrument – they’re not tailored to me in the way that my specs and contact lenses are. I could just about see the numbers on the huge digital clock at the far end of the 50m pool, but my above the water vision was slightly blurry. Underwater, for some reason, it was quite clear. The main difficulty I found was that they gave me an awful headache. I don’t know if it was because the strap was very tight and they were digging in and hurting me, or if it was because the prescription was slightly off, but I had a bad headache after only a few minutes in the water, and felt quite sick with it. It was worse if I took a breather at either end, less bad when I was swimming.
My plan is to loosen the strap off a teeny bit to see if that helps. If it doesn’t help, then I assume the headache is because the lenses aren’t quite right for me and I’ll just need to persevere until my brain adjusts to them. I’m sure it will in time.