Please help me find swimming goggles that won't leave marks under my eyes.
December 13, 2010 1:30 AM   Subscribe

Please help me find swimming goggles that won't turn me into a raccoon!

I've recently started indoor pool swimming (love it!) and have noticed that the goggles leave marks under my eyes for over an hour after leaving the pool (boo!). Googling around, I've found that I'm not alone. Also, it appears some people fear that it's permanent! I'm seeing some recommendations for mask-type goggles, and talk of the difference between negative and positive pressure systems. Wha? Hope me! Anyone have any insight?

Bonus points for stores local to Portland, Oregon.
posted by funkiwan to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What kind of goggles are you currently using? What varieties have you tried already?
posted by saladin at 5:28 AM on December 13, 2010

Best answer: Coming from someone that's spent a lot of time swimming and scuba diving (you have similar problems with masks in diving, google "Mask Squeeze" for info and some nasty photos)...

Basic physics are your enemy here. When you create a sealed cavity of gas in front of your eyes (which is what goggles and masks do), as you jump into the water, the depth of the water creates additional pressure. Since the goggles are more or less rigid, they stay at the same pressure they were at the surface (14.7 psi). Swimming even on the surface, you spend much of your time with your eyes at 4" to 6" of water depth, and that's about a 1/4 psi difference from surface pressure. Doesn't sound like much, but for the typical goggle cup, that's usually more than a pound difference, so you've effectively got a pound of force pulling on your eyes and pushing on the seals. This can cause rings, break capillaries, and cause other problems after a while.

What can you do?

1. Don't make it worse. Some goggle designs (the "negative pressure ones") are designed to be held on not by the head strap, but basically by suction cups to your eye sockets. Obviously, that's going to make the situation worse. Consider positive pressure goggles.

2. Use the minimal amount of strap tension necessary, since this is also adding to the problem.

3. Find goggles with seals that fit your face and have soft seals.

4. Don't go deep in the water. If you do, consider a mask (diving masks attach the eye cavity to the nose, so that you can blow air in through your nose and equalize pressure)

5. Compromise. A little bit of leakage may be preferable to marks on your eyes.
posted by kaszeta at 5:53 AM on December 13, 2010

Best answer: I had this problem, but then I figured out that I could wear the goggles way, way looser than I thought. Just experiment loosening them progressively until you get to the point where you get too much leakage.
posted by yarly at 6:37 AM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

I swim 3X a week too, and I wear goggles from Club Swim, that have a cheap prescription. I got them at Swim Outlet after reading about them on Cool Tools.

Cool Tools had some on there a week or so ago, Swedish Goggles, that look like what you are wanting.
posted by chocolatetiara at 8:29 AM on December 13, 2010

I was having a similar problem, and had to try several types of goggles until I found some that worked. The ones I finally settled on are similar to the Swedish Goggles chocolatetiara linked to, but they're made by Speedo. I bought them at a regular sporting goods store, so you could probably get them at Dick's or someplace similar in Portland.

Also what helps is to gently press them on your wet face until there is a slight suction, and then adjust the straps around your head. You don't need or want the straps to be too tight.
posted by apricot at 12:58 PM on December 13, 2010

Response by poster: I'm currently using goggles that were loaned to me by my swimming buddy. They're TYR goggles similar to these, I think, but probably several years old. They're women's goggles (I'm a man) and I've developed a bruise on the bridge of my nose from where the two eye pieces connect. I get a seal is by pressing them into my eyes. I'm a new swimmer and these are the only goggles I've ever worn.
posted by funkiwan at 1:45 PM on December 13, 2010

They're probably too narrow for your face, which might be part of the problem. What's nice about those Swedish goggles is you can adjust the nose part too. You should give them a try! They're very inexpensive.
posted by apricot at 3:21 PM on December 13, 2010

ugh don't get the swedish goggles, they're so hard to use and deeply uncomfortable. Some people swear by them but I think my face is the wrong shape or something. I could never get them to stay on and they leaked like nothing else. They cost about $5, though, so you could give them a shot. I'm pretty doubtful a novice swimmer will like them, though.

The goggles you have now have a rubber gasket, which I personally prefer, but you might try the foam gasket goggles, which at least press on a larger area. I always found them leaky though, and I prefer dry eyes to lack of rings post swim.
posted by annie o at 5:10 PM on December 13, 2010

They're women's goggles (I'm a man) and I've developed a bruise on the bridge of my nose from where the two eye pieces connect. I get a seal is by pressing them into my eyes.

If I had to guess, I'd guess that the type of goggle you ultimately purchase isn't really relevant to your problem; what you need is a pair of goggles that actually fits your face. I've always had good luck with Speedo Vanquishers.
posted by saladin at 6:13 AM on December 14, 2010

I love Aquasphere Kaiman Goggles. YMMV, though - as others have already mentioned, this depends very much on the wearer's face. I originally got my first pair of Aquaspheres because my dad had bought them and they gave him marks and wouldn't even seal...for me they are perfect, marks disappear within minutes.
posted by The Toad at 4:16 PM on December 15, 2010

Oh, and I wanted to add, Aquaspheres are good if you have a high nose bridge (I also have this problem with most other goggles). They also come in large.
posted by The Toad at 4:20 PM on December 15, 2010

Response by poster: I tried on a pair of Swedish goggles and they felt like they would really cut into my skin since they had no gaskets. I ended up deciding on a pair of the Aqua Sphere Seal XP goggles. They seem to distribute the pressure evenly over a much wider surface area. And taking yarly's advice, I progressively loosened them so even after over an hour in the pool the faint marks were practically gone by the time I was out of the shower. So far so good.
posted by funkiwan at 3:01 PM on December 22, 2010

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