Picture of Make Your Own Prescription Swimming Goggles
prescription swimming goggles 10a.JPG
Wearing your glasses in the water is a sure way to end up having to buy a new pair, and contacts tend to pop out when swimming. I don't wear glasses, but lots of my friends do, and I have seen many a pair of expensive glasses lost into the deep blue yonder, or the murky abyss.

Cindy came up with this simple and great idea to make her own prescription goggles for only $12 (the cost of the goggles), saving $$ compared to buying a pair from the optometrist or dive shop. If you have an old pair of prescription glasses, you can probably make a pair of these for cheap, and in only a few minutes.

Not only do these work well for swimming, but they are especially useful if you're doing a water sport, like surfing, kayaking, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, etc, where if you're like me you will end up doing a face plant.

Ok ok, so you're not going to look like a rockstar wearing these, but if they are carefully made, no one else will notice that the lenses are glued on. Only with thicker lenses do you notice because of the distortion, which is visible with regular glasses anyways. Although, who wears swimming goggles to look cool? They're all about functionality, and what's more functional than not only keeping water out of your eyes, but also being able to see clearly.

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Daniel Bauen
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
The materials you will need to make the prescription swimming goggles are:

1. Pair of old prescription glasses that you don't use anymore. The prescription just has to be good enough to see, not read.

2. Pair of Swimming Goggles. The Boomerang Goggle from Speedo worked the best of any goggle I found. $12 at Target, probably available elsewhere too.

3. 5 minute Epoxy  As many people have suggested, use SILICONE adhesive instead,  It remains more flexible, seals better, and makes a stronger bond.

4. Fine grit sandpaper

I said it was simple, right?
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adelineblteoh2 months ago
Not sure where these people are getting $13 prescription goggles - perhaps your eyesight is not as bad as mine! I can't even get decent non-prescription goggles for that price! I have extreme myopia and high astigmatism so the prices I've been quoted have been $200+. I'm quite happy to use ordinary goggles and swim in a lane but the idea of using old lenses is a really good one which I'm going to try right after I get my new script and give up my current glasses.
jeff-o3 years ago
Nice work. I want to do the same with a pair of aviator goggles for riding my bike in the winter.
LancasterPA3 years ago
Way better than this is to just buy a pair of prescription goggles. I bought my first pair about 4 years ago for $8.00 delivered and now I see they are $13.00 delivered. Search e-bay for prescription swim goggles. Getting a proper prescription is way more important than saving one buck. I use the ones I am referring to for just hanging in the water. I am a scuba diver too and bought a prescription diving mask for $12 then a spare for $15. This took some time until someone listed a used pair in my script. I just saw 2 more sets last week one went for $8 and one for $27.
True I do the same also; many online glasses companies. I use zenni. Great article; BUT you will have to remember if you do this to keep left lenses and right lens in the correct position; don't reverse them. Also there is what is called "PID" measurement. The distance between your eye pupil centers. You get this off more than 2-3mm and your going to get a headache. or it will feel weird while wearing them.. Ever get a pair of new glasses and they seem "not right"? Maybe the PID is off. As for me I would have bought goggles with larger lenses and glues the glasses lenses inside with silicone.. I also dive - padi cert.
That may be, but the "spirit" of reuse is to make use of items that would otherwise be discarded :-)
theburn73 years ago
I had done the same thing. Just no epoxy.
Great video and instruction! I've done this before and I'll give you a few pointers, because it can be done more seamlessly. I wouldn't use epoxy for this sort of project. Epoxy is not forgiving of mistakes and tends to look sloppy (sorry). Also benod is right regarding putting the lenses inside instead of outside, that works much better. Make a paper pattern and cut the lenses with a dremel. Then use silicone around the lens edge to hold the lenses in place. Put the silicone into a "syringe for glue" so you can get a nice tight line of silicone around the edge of the glasses. With silicone it lasts forever and if you do a nice job then no one can even tell you put lenses in. And silicone can also be taken out very easily so you can redo or reuse the lenses later. Another thing, (whether or not you're putting in lenses) if you have a sheet of polarized plastic, you can add that in between the lens and the goggles to make tinted swimming goggles that look very cool.
dextercf4 years ago
Please take caution not to rotate the lenses when gluing them to the new frame (swimgoggles).
If rotated, and these have "cylinder power" og "prisme power" to them, it would in the extreme make your vision worse than without the glasses.

Read up on optometrics to be sure!

I guess you could ask your local shop if they can fit your old glasses in your new frame (swim goggles). We do this all the time at the shop I work at.
noelle_tan4 years ago
it'll cost me twelve *ucks? hmm that's a rather high price to pay...
I kid, that's what is sounded like in the vid though XP
benod6 years ago
Great Instructable! I did something similar for my better half a few years ago, except I put the lenses on the inside of the goggles. It's even a little easier than how you explained it. Just cut the lenses to make them fit the inside dimensions of the goggles. It will almost be a tight friction fit. Leave a little space on the inner and outer edges and use small dabs of removable sticky putty (the kind used to put posters on walls) to secure the edges. Believe it or not, the lenses will stay put with just small dabs on the inner and outer edges and the lenses will be removable for cleaning, etc. Any water that gets in will easily drain out through the small gaps. And, from the outside, the goggles look like any other pair of goggles in the pool.
Inside Snow Skiing  Goggles too!
engineerable (author)  benod6 years ago
Great idea! What did you cut the lenses with, or did you sand/grind them?
I did the entire thing with a Dremel tool. I had her put the old glasses on first before I did anything, so I could mark the location of her pupils and make sure I used the correct part of each lens. (I did all my marking with a grease pencil.) After I got the pupils marked, I just marked the approximate dimensions (erring on the large size) of the interior of the goggles. Then I used a grinding stone to grind the eyeglass lenses (they were glass) to the approximate shape and size. It took a few trial fiitings until everything fit really well. The goggles had a slight slant to them on the inside, so I had to slant each lens as well. I don't think the entire thing took more than an hour or so.
oilpaint2 benod6 years ago
I have done the same thing for my googles using a dremel tool to grind the edges of the glasses mine were plastic lenses and very easy to do and I used hot glue to fix the left and right side edges to the googles left and right edges leaving the top and bottom edges open so to be able to stop fogging and also having the lenses inside stops me worrying that the lense will come off from a knock and stop being scratched as well.
benod oilpaint26 years ago
Actually, the hot glue sounds like a good solution if you are in any way active. You don't have any worries about a lens getting loose at the wrong time.
the_josh266 years ago
Thats a good idea. I work in an optical lab where I edge lenses daily. A couple of points though. Plastic lenses tend to shred easily when cutting so be very careful. And on our touch off wheel where we slightly sand the lenses we have water on it constantly to keep the dust down plastic scratches easily. And before you cut try to figure out where your pupils are centered in the lense. If you are off by just a little your lenses wont be optically centered and it will mess up your vision when wearing the goggles.
Before you remove the glases from the frame, Use a pencil & look in the mirror to mark the center of your pupil. do the same on the goggles. Then line them up when fitting & glueing.
Do you know what kind of grit you sand the lenses at? Also, do you think I could use Meguiar's low-cut show polish to polish off a wrecked AR coating?
ccg3 Rishnai4 years ago
 There are chemical strippers for AR coatings, but none that are usually available to the open consumer market.  Contact a nearby wholesale optical lab and see if they will be willing to neutralize the AR coat.
I dont know the exact grit. The wheel is actually a stone wheel. And to remove AR we use acetone
Okay, I've got grinding wheels. I wouldn't have thought of acetone, for fear it would melt the lens. But if that's the solvent for the job, it saves me a lot of elbow grease!
woodNfish4 years ago
 Some of these goggles are made of soft silicone and the goggle lenses can easily be popped out. If you do that and trace the goggle lenses outline onto your own prescription lenses, then grind your prescription lenses to the shape of the goggle lenses, you can just pop your prescription lenses into the goggles. No glue needed. You will need a stationary sander to grind down the lenses.

Just make sure you get the alignment right.
dbbd4 years ago
What do I do if the lenses are way bigger than the goggles?
Wouldn't it be better to glue the lenses inside the goggles?
it looks that there remains an air bubble between the goggles and the lens,
if it fills with water, this is no good. So the glue is not only to hold the
lens in place, but also to create an air-tight bubble.
Rishnai6 years ago
Nice instructable! I remember once upoon a time when dunking my head underwater meant I could see crystal-clear, but in the air I needed glasses. Now I can't ditch the glasses for anything, and the prescription lenses cost a heap and a half... Hey, speaking of prescription goggles, has anyone tried cutting plastic prescription lenses with any success? I need to cut some to fit a set of goggles I'm making and I don't want to destroy things in the process.
ccg3 Rishnai4 years ago
 CR-39 Lenses (plastic lenses) are the most naturally scratch resistant lenses available.  Polycarbonate lenses have to be scratch-coated to resist scratching.  It's actually pretty damn hard to scratch CR-39 without trying.
engineerable (author)  Rishnai6 years ago
I've never cut plastic lenses, but I imagine that you need to be careful not to scratch the lenses while cutting them. If you can keep from scratching the lenses in the process, cutting them shouldn't do any damage. Grinding the lenses may be the easiest way to remove the material you don't want. You could use a grinder, bench mounted power sander, or sand by hand. If you use power tools, just do a little bit at a time so that the plastic doesn't heat up and start melting.
If you cover the lenses with masking tape before cutting it might help prevent them from getting scratched
+1 for the masking tape idea, it works perfectly :)
I like the masking tape idea. Probably something I would have thought of about halfway through jigsawing one...
Browncoat6 years ago
Step 5: "The edges of the prescription glass lenses that overlap the goggle frames need to be sanded for better glue adhesion, if you are using plastic lenses." What if they're glass lenses?
engineerable (author)  Browncoat6 years ago
I haven't tried this with glass lenses yet. You can glue them as is with epoxy, and it will probably hold fine. Or, take a dremel tool, and using a grinder attachment, rough up the surface that you are going to glue.
 You have to be very careful when cutting finished glass lenses.  They have been heat treated to make the harder, so they don't often cut easily.  When they do, they can chip off in chunks.  

I recommend steering clear of grinding the glass lenses.
Glass also sands well, not as easily, but it will roughen up to hold some glue.
ccg34 years ago
 Please don't do this unless you are sure that you don't have an astigmatism.  If there is astigmatic correction in the lenses beyond 1.75 diopters, and you rotate the lens only TWO DEGREES you could cause serious eyestrain problems, as well as worsen your eyesight.  If the lenses are spherical, meaning that there is no astigmatism correction in your lenses, you can feel free to grind and glue away all you want to as you are not ruining the Rx.  

This is potentially dangerous.  Ask an Optometrist.  

Source:  Optical Lab Management Experience.

TRIPLEC4 years ago
erm, just a thought.. what about when you get OUT of the water?... then you dont have any glasses to put on, and i doubt you'd want to go to school wearing speedo goggles...
micobanff4 years ago
 get cheap prescription glasses from here:

been ordering mine from there for 4 years. 
 you know, you can get an $8 pair to wreck to do this if you don't have an old pair with your current prescription
thanks for the tip! some of those $8 frames don't look all that bad, either.
RaNDoMLeiGH4 years ago
I could do this with my prescription sunglasses so when I go in the pool I won't lose my sunglass contacts! I can't frickin' see in the sunlight without sunglasses and the glare off a pool is most painful. perhaps not practical for diving/snorkeling - which I don't do - but it would be great for the pool or beach.

allindsay4 years ago
I do something close to this with my sunglasses. I like the big bug-eyed wrap arounds but they can't put my prescription in them, so I hot glue my lenses to them on the inside. Since the glasses are usually deeper than most other types, the rx lenses are not right up against my eyes.
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