Make Your Own Prescription Swimming Goggles




About: Daniel Bauen breathes new life into objects that have met their untimely demise in the junk pile.
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

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?

Step 2: Remove Lenses From Your Old Glasses

Use an eyeglass screwdriver (usually a small flathead screwdriver) to remove the screw that clamps the frame around your lenses. If the lenses are held in the frame without screws, they may just be popped out by hand.

Step 3: Test Fit the Lenses Onto the Goggle Frames

The size and shape of the lenses may determine what pair of swimming goggles will fit the best.

First, put the goggles on, and hold the lenses up to the goggles to check if you can see well with them. Ideally the lenses should be close to the same distance away from your eye as the eyeglass frames originally held them, and this quick test will determine if you will be able to see well with them once they are glued on.

The lenses should at least overlap the frame of the goggles on the left and right sides. This is the minimum amount of glue area that you will need, as shown in the pictures of the clear goggles below. In this case, the top and the bottom edge will be open, allowing water to flow freely between the glasses lens and the goggle lens. This is probably the easiest and most reliable solution.

If the lenses overlap the frame all the way around, as shown in the pictures of the pink goggles, then the glue can be applied all the way around. This will created a sealed space between the glasses lens and the goggle lens. There needs to be as little moisture trapped in the space as possible to prevent fogging, so this should be done in a dry place, or you can apply some anti-fog to the lenses on the inside of the space. Also, the glue needs to be properly applied to prevent leaks.

If you are going to buy a pair of goggles, you may want to remove the lenses from your old glases first, take them with you to the store, and see if they would fit well over the goggles.

Step 4: Note: Curved Vs Flat Lenses

You may have to glue the lenses on differently depending on whether they are very curved, or flat.

If the lenses are very curved, as shown by the clear goggles in the pictures below, then you should only apply glue at the edges where the lenses touch the goggle frames. This is the preferred method, because you don't have to worry about leaks.

If the lenses are flat, and they fully overlap the goggle frames, as shown by the pink goggles in the picture below, then you can apply glue all the way around. This is risky, because you may end up with leaks. I therefore highly recommend putting a temporary spacer between the lenses and the goggles to allow for a 1 to 2mm gap, and only applying glue to the edges, leaving a space at the top and bottom to allow water to flow through.

Step 5: Sanding the Surfaces in Preperation for Gluing

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.

Using the fine grit sandpaper, lightly sand around the edge of the lenses (on the inside surface) where they will be glued to the goggles.

You should also lightly sand/roughen the goggle frames to which the sanded edges of the lenses will touch. This will help the glue adhere to the goggles.

Step 6: Glue the Lenses to the Goggles (Very Curved Lenses)

Follow these instructions if your lenses are very curved.

1. Mix the epoxy very well.

2. If the epoxy is very runny at first, you may want to wait till it thickens a little. Just don't wait too long, because when it begins to harden, it will harden quickly!

3. Apply the glue on the edges of the frame where the lenses will overlap the goggles. The top and bottom is left open for water to flow through. Put just enough so that there will be a good bond between the frame and the lens

4. Position the lenses onto the frames, and hold in place until the glue hardens. It should only take a few minutes.

Step 7: Glue the Lenses to the Goggles (Flat Lenses)

Follow these instructions if your lenses are almost flat, or overlap all the way around the frames.

1. Mix the epoxy very well.

2. If the epoxy is very runny at first, you may want to wait till it thickens a little. Just don't wait too long, because when it begins to harden, it will harden quickly!

3. Apply the glue all the way around the edges of the frame where the lenses overlap. Put just enough so that there will be a good bond between the frame and the lens. I made the mistake of putting a little bit too much the first time and making a mess.

4. Position the lenses onto the frames, and fill in any gaps with epoxy. Make sure that there is a watertight seal between the lenses and the goggles.

5. Hold the lenses in place until the glue hardens. It should only take a few minutes.

Step 8: Finished, Now Go for a Swim!

After leaving the goggles alone overnight so that the epoxy can fully cure, you are ready to go for a swim and test them out.

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    92 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction has super cheap sport/wind goggles. They do not have prescription swim goggles, just non-prescription. I'm practically legally blind with 5 or 6 things wrong in each eye and I can still get good quality glasses from then (but not bifocal, only progressive or regular). Regular frames (lots of them) start at $6.95)

    The comment below sounds like he is talking about ebay or something for used.


    4 years 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.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice work. I want to do the same with a pair of aviator goggles for riding my bike in the winter.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That may be, but the "spirit" of reuse is to make use of items that would otherwise be discarded :-)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    9 years ago on Step 6

    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.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    5 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    3 replies

    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.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     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.