5th November 2018

Prescription glasses, sunglasses or goggles for surfing?

When you’re surfing, your face gets wet, right? This can cause problems for those of us who wear glasses or contact lenses. But there are lots of options to keep you seeing clearly – prescription sports glasses, surfing sunglasses and surfing goggles. Here’s a quick practical guide outlining the pros and cons for each option to help you make the right decision for you.

Nina Whitby
Wavemaker - Content

Surfing goggles

Unlike skiing not many people wear goggles for surfing, but you can buy a decent pair of prescription goggles, so they're not to be dismissed. The benefits of wearing goggles are that they help you see more clearly beneath the water as well as above it. They're also great for bodysurfing where you’re lower in the water and get more water in your face. Surfing goggles can also reduce the possible risk of eye infection for contact lens wearers.

If you’re thinking of buying goggles, the most important advice is to make sure they fit firmly all round and have adjustable straps so you can ensure no water gets in while you’re surfing or bodyboarding. Most models can be supplied with lenses in standard prescription strengths – consult your optician for more information.

"Once I realised I could wear goggles when I surfed I never looked back."

Sally MemmoryBeginner

Contact lenses

The British Contact Lens Association says that you shouldn’t wear contact lenses in the water without tight fitting goggles over the top. They also recommend using daily disposable lenses so you can discard the lenses immediately after you get out of the water. Even though some surfers and bodyboarders do wear lenses with no issues, it's worth taking precautions to look after your eyes.

Prescription glasses

Slightly different from goggles, prescription glasses and sunglasses with polarised lenses are another option. There are lots of sport eyewear manufacturers who make robust frames that are safe and impact resistant. They come with an elasticated strap to help keep them on and most surfers also wear a hood or a hat to keep the glasses in place. The beauty of this option is you can pick really good lenses and wear them even when you’re not surfing.


Whatever option you go for it’s always a good idea to keep a spare pair of glasses or lenses handy just in case you need them.

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