What are The International Criteria and Requirements for Surface Swimming Goggles?

What are The International Criteria and Requirements for Surface Swimming Goggles?
October 6, 2023

It was British Standard BS 5883:1996 and the newly published standard ISO 18527-3: 2020, Eye and face protection for sports use - Part 3: Requirements and test methods for eyewear intended to be used for surface swimming are the most critical norms for swimming goggles.

These criteria and requirements are often established by international standards organizations to ensure the safety, performance, and quality of such products.

New norms of ISO 18527-3:2020 specify the following five Tint Categories (SW0 to SW4) and the supplier shall measure the goggles luminous transmittance value and declare Tint Category on the product manual or packaging.

Table 1 - Transmittance requirements for swimming eyewear

Luminous transmittance value is important for swim goggles for several reasons, primarily related to safety, performance, and comfort while swimming. Luminous transmittance refers to the amount of visible light that can pass through a material or lens. In the context of swim goggles, here's why it's significant:

  1. Visibility Underwater: Maintaining good visibility underwater is crucial for swimmers' safety. A suitable luminous transmittance value ensures that enough natural light can enter the goggles, allowing swimmers to see clearly while swimming in pools, open water, or other aquatic environments. This is particularly important when navigating underwater obstacles, other swimmers, or changing water conditions.
  2. Depth Perception: Adequate luminous transmittance helps swimmers perceive depth accurately. This is important for judging distances to walls, lane markers, or objects in the water. Accurate depth perception can contribute to smoother and safer swimming.
  3. Safety in Low-Light Conditions: Swim goggles with appropriate luminous transmittance values can enhance safety when swimming in low-light or cloudy conditions. Swimmers can still see clearly, reducing the risk of collisions or accidents.
  4. Reduced Eye Strain: Goggles with the right luminous transmittance value can reduce eye strain. Excessive darkness or tinting may force swimmers to strain their eyes to see clearly, which can lead to discomfort and reduced performance.
  5. Adaptation to Different Lighting Conditions: Depending on the swim environment (e.g., indoor pool, outdoor pool, open water), lighting conditions can vary significantly. Goggles with adaptable luminous transmittance values, such as photochromic lenses that adjust to changing light conditions, provide swimmers with optimal vision throughout their swim.
  6. Compliance with Regulations: In competitive swimming, there may be regulations regarding the luminous transmittance of goggles to ensure fairness and safety among competitors. Swimmers may be required to use goggles with specific transmittance values in certain races.
  7. Comfort and Confidence: Clear visibility through swim goggles enhances swimmers' overall comfort and confidence. When swimmers can see well, they can focus on their technique, speed, and performance without distractions or anxiety about their surroundings.

It's worth noting that while luminous transmittance is essential for visibility and safety, some swim goggles may also have additional features to enhance performance, such as anti-fog coatings, UV protection, and tinted lenses for glare reduction in outdoor swimming. Swimmers should choose goggles that are suitable for their specific needs and swimming conditions, keeping luminous transmittance and other factors in mind.

Here is a template (a screenshot only from a complete SGS test report) :
Style/Item No.: S58UV JET Mirror

JET Mirror is one of our best-selling models for triathletes, for open water swimming as the lens has mirror coated which can reduce light transmittance when the race is under glare of the sun.

Photo_Triathlete_張團畯 Chang Tuan Chun

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