Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Surf goggles: trying out Sportsviz's Aquaviz OTS Core

The problem
In the past I've for the most part surfed whilst wearing soft contact lenses. However, recently I've become aware of the risks of infection that this can cause. I'd be fine with the risk if it just meant a small chance that I'd have at worst a couple of months of discomfort and perhaps a course of anti-biotics. But it seems the risk is that you can in fact get an infection which can cause potentially cause blindness in the infected eye. That definitely gets me looking a little further into the problem. If you want to see a couple of scare stories to get you thinking just google: swimming blindness contact lens. Here'a a couple of the stories:

BBC News

Daily Mail

Also, Moorfields Eye Hospital's advice is here.

Of course, some might say it's just another example of 'health and safety gone mad' and each person will obviously make their own choices. But clearly there's an issue whatever you decide. There might also be the general concern of sticking out like a sore thumb in the sea. Not something, frankly, that's a worry for me aged 47 and possibly the least cool person in North Devon as it is. But when thinking about why sea swimmers happily wear googles but not surfers I don't think it's just vanity. I think there's a bigger thing about the feeling that goes with surfing. The freedom of just paddling out and catching a wave unhindered by such things are goggles. That, to me, is a much bigger obstacle. But so, too, is keeping your eyesight. So, it's left me with a conundrum and no obvious answers.

Looking for the solution
So, what to do? There are various sunglasses type spectacles such as Sea Specs. The concern there is fogging and water spots on the lenses. Then there are straightforward small swim goggles with a prescription lense. The problem there is that they are very narrow in the sight path and also pretty tight in on the eye socket. Basically, not very comfortable. So far down this rabbit hole the answer I've personally landed on are larger Aquaviz glasses which are part of the Sportviz sportswear brand. The basic specs are £24.95 (plus £6.95 postage). You then choose prescription inserts to add into them which for single vision (which they recommend generally for surfing) are a further £25. 

I've ordered the basic specs to try them out and assuming they're ok I will then try out the prescription inserts. I'll update this post at that stage. In the meantime, two very useful reviews are the following:

Surfer Dad (and see also the comments below the article)


YouTube review 


I'll also be chatting it through with local Braunton optician Mark Hales at the excellent Shore Sight opticians.