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by Carol Brzozowski

August 1, 2023

The best open water goggles provide great visibility and eye protection

For open water swimming goggles, the choice between a mirrored or polarized lens to enhance visibility depends on weather conditions.

Jared Berger, TYR’s merchandising director, says mirrored lenses help reduce the sun’s glare and polarized lenses block 99 percent of it, offer the most clarity, and help block the sun’s harmful rays. 

“If you’re swimming with the bright sun overhead, use a mirrored lens,” says Thomas Steinemann, spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and professor of ophthalmology at Case Western University.

They’re not the best choice in overcast conditions, he says, because swimmers might have trouble picking up buoys or floats through dark lenses.

Polarized lenses—designed to filter intense glare caused by light reflecting off flat, open water surfaces—are good for overcast outdoor swimming days.

Consider a clear goggle or something lightly tinted, such as an amber—which makes sun rays less bright—or gray or green, which filter out “annoying rays,” Steinemann says. Choose pink or red lenses for low lighting swimming conditions to enhance the contrast, he adds.

Steinemann notes most quality goggles have built-in UV protection.

Lens colors are available on both polarized and mirrored goggles, Berger says.


  • Open Water


  • Goggles