Glasses/contacts for racing

Hi folks,

I'm a rookie wanna-be triathalete, with pretty much zero fitness behind me - currently aiming for a sprint triathlon sometime after christmas.  But, I'm fairly short sighted, and just wanted to see how any Pirates deal with this particular issue when training/racing.  Obviously I can't wear glasses during the swim, and every time i wear contact lenses on a run the buggers fall out, so short of taking the lenses out and switching to glasses at the transition, I'm out of ideas.  Any words of wisdom would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!


  • I would take some advice from an optician if your lenses are falling out when you run

    I wear them and I have never had that happen before

  • you can get sports sunglasses with prescription lenses so serve a dual purpose - to reduce sun glare and also help you see.   they don't come cheap and are usually restricted to the top brands like Oakley etc



  • Depends on how fit you are. If you're gonna be behind Meldy you might want to go without! image

  • I use daily disposable lenses for swimming  / racing
    I just bike / run in my glasses when training, uless its sunny then the oakleys come out with lenses again image

  • Thanks guys, that's really helpful - Meldy, I think you may be right re: going to talk to the optician.  This just sounds like a good excuse to buy myself some new sunglasses image

  • Bought my wife some prescription -7 swim goggles, she swears by them. About 30 quid.

  • TheEngineer wrote (see)

    Depends on how fit you are. If you're gonna be behind Meldy you might want to go without! image


  • Some goggle manufacturers do corrective inserts for their goggles. They vary in strength. I think Aqua Sphere is one of them! image

    I'm lucky that although I'm short sighted I can cope without glasses when I'm running or swimming in the pool, but I do tend to either wear glasses or contacts when cycling! When I do wear contacts it's daily disposables.

    And as Meldy pointed out, if your contacts are falling out on the run it suggests there is something seriously wrong with the fit so go see your optician.

  • Aquasphere Eagle are the ones, you can buy separate lenses to match your prescription for each eye (close enough for swimming in, anyway).  Prescription goggles for around £25.

  • I wear contact lenses and they have never fallen out. A trip to the optitions is in order, have a go at the daily disposables ( most places let you try before you buy!)

  • Get laser eye surgery. Best thing I ever did

  • I wear daily disposable contacts when I'm training or racing, never had a problem.  

  • Agree with Meldy and Little Sis, there's something very wrong if your contact lenses fall out.

    Aside from that, I've done this a couple of ways.  In my early days of tri, I used to swim 'blind' and then pick up my glasses which I left somewhere by the side of the pool as I got out.  Races are used to people asking if they can do this.  I would then switch to sunglasses with the inserts for the bike and run if it was sunny enough, or just ride/run in my specs.

    These days I do it the other way around. I have contact lenses and I ignore the 'do not swim in contact lenses' advice for race day only. I make sure I am completely confident of the seal of my goggles and then I can wear whatever glasses I chose on the bike.

    I only swim in lenses on race day, I don't train in them.  I train 'blind' as I'm happy enough with the blurry vision I do have.  I have heard good things about those Aqua Sphere prescription inserts from others though.

    Opticians will advise you against swimming in lenses, there are some nasty bugs you can get from doing this and I've seen a woman at my tri club get such an eye infection that meant she couldn't wear her lenses for several weeks. I told the optician that I race so infrequently I was prepared to take the risk for race day and the optician was ok with me weighing up the risks and making my choice.

  • Daily disposables for me, only for OW swim and racing.
    Make sure to take them out as soon as possible after swimming was the advice given to me by the optician and always wear goggles when swimming. 

  • race without my specs... Everything is slightly blurred and I can't read the trip computer on the bike (I see this as a positive), It does mean I have ignored the OH a couple of times when I didn't spot her

  • I've never lost a contact lens either running or swimming*.

    Nor has my optician ever said I shouldn't wear the lenses for swimming.

    *when I say swimming, I mean splashing about in pools, lakes or the sea on holiday, rather than serious swimming.

  • GavoGavo ✭✭✭

    Prescription goggles - there's a number of manufacturers or you could just go to Dollond & Atchison.  Around £15 - £20 roughly.

    In terms of inserts, I used to use adidas ones.  Apparently I had the wrong inserts for my sunglasses but they worked for me.  As FB said, they're not cheap.  This company knew their stuff when I had questions so might be worth a look.

  • The potential consequences of swimming with contact lens (..... and without goggles on):

    Not that I always remember to take them out before having a shower image

  • I would say the risk is greatly minimised with dailies as (by definition) they dont stay in long
    My Optician knows I swim and has never advised against with lenses although I am aware of that recent article

  • Ooh, I have monthlies and always swim in them, pool and open water as I can only see three inches without them. Didn't realise I wasn't meant to!
  • Came across this site when I was looking around for possible options for myself once I've had my eyes retested, though will probably give contact lenses a try first.

  • An insect did die in my eye two weeks ago though, in the process making the white of my eye go red, and swell up with a yellow fluid sac. After running three miles back to my car I did throw that pair of lenses away....
  • It was defo unpleasant, for a day or two.... image
  • I got a right old lecture from my previous optician for swimming with contacts in.

    The current optician said it should be ok for racing and dailies do significantly reduce the risk of infection. :0)
  • I've been wearing contacts for more than thirty years, and I've swum in pools, lakes, the sea (without goggles), been in spas, jacuzzis, steam rooms, showers, and my optician has never, ever said to me that I shouldn't get wet with my contact lenses in.

    (And I've never had a problem)



  • I don't think it's getting wet that's the problem, it's open water swimming in rivers & lakes where the water isn't necessarily the cleanest.  Chances of having a problem are very low, so for most of us it won't be an issue, especially if you're using dailies or are good at cleaning them. 

    My opticians have never warned me not to use mine in open water, but then again I've never asked.

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