Options for Skiing and Snowboarding with Glasses

There’s nothing better than watching the surrounding environment go by as you race down a slope at the fastest speed you can handle. But if you’re someone who uses glasses, you have two options: take your glasses off and struggle to see your surroundings while participating in a sport that demands incredible visibility. Or keep your glasses on and scratch them underneath your goggles. This is the dilemma all glasses wearers face when they participate in winter sports. But now, thanks to improved technology and materials, goggles are now designed to accommodate glasses. People can wear their lenses underneath their skiing or snowboarding goggles comfortably and without scratching the lenses. 

So in this in-depth guide, I will highlight the features and differences you must know so you can understand how glasses affect skiing and snowboarding. This guide can help you conceive an informed decision. The faster you make a decision, the faster you can get back out to the snow!

Why not use Contacts?

This is probably the first question that came to your mind when opening an article about wearing glasses while snowboarding or skiing. If a person wears contacts, they won’t have to buy specialized goggles at all. While wearing contacts, the skier can ski with ease and not compromise their sight. But there’s a few reasons why a person would choose to wear glasses underneath their goggles. 

The first reason is that the skier has dry eyes. Many people forget that wintertime can be just as drying as summertime, and dry eyes can worsen when exposed to wind and snow. Someone with dry eyes might find their contacts to feel very irritating, so wearing glasses would be better for them.

The second reason is many people don’t have contacts. Contacts are expensive, and they’re easier to lose than prescription glasses. Also, some people are grossed out when they have to stick something in their eye, so they physically cannot use contacts. 

Finally, those who wear glasses have such a strong prescription that contact makers are unable to make contacts for them.

Now that we have discussed a few reasons why a person is unable to wear contacts while skiing, let’s find out the best type of goggles to wear over your glasses.

OTG Goggles

Woman in OTG Goggles

No matter if you are a snowboarder or a skier, if you want to wear your glasses underneath your goggles, you need to buy a special type of goggles for this purpose. This type of goggles is called an OTG goggles or Over The Glasses goggles. These goggles are wider and lift farther off your face than normal goggles, so there is extra room for your glasses, and the nose pads on your glasses won’t pinch the bridge of your nose.

What Should You Look for in an OTG Goggle?

Like a regular pair of goggles, OTG goggles have many features that keep your eyes safe from UV rays, stringing wind, and help maintain your vision. Now, people who wear glasses will no longer have to worry about their ability to see or if their lenses are going to scratch.

The Right VLT for High Light, Flat Light, or no Light

If you are unaware, VLT stands for visible light transmission, and it is the amount of light that passes through the goggle’s lens and is absorbed by the eyes. A pair of goggles built for nighttime skiing or snowboarding will have a VLT of 80% to 90% or higher. But goggles built for full sun or daytime lighting will have a VLT of 20% or less. To read more about this check out our article here on the best goggles for low light or flat light.

Ventilation to Prevent Fogging

When a pair of goggles is properly insulated, fog will not appear inside the goggle lens. Also, the skin of your face that is covered by your goggles will not sweat. To know if a pair of goggles is ventilated, it should have multiple vents around the front and sides. The vents should be wide and not made with tiny air holes. 

Battery operated fans are also a plus when looking for proper ventilation in your goggles. You may have to carry batteries around with you or charge your goggles to use the fan, but at least you won’t have a buildup of sweat under the goggles as well as a foggy lens.

Anti-fog Lenses

One of the most critical features to have for any goggle is anti-fogging measures. Each side of the goggle lens must have a coat that prevents fog from developing. As you breathe while skiing or snowboarding, goggles that are not tempered with an anti-fogging coating will cloud up and you won’t be able to see what is ahead of you. Fogged lenses are dangerous and losing even a bit of visibility for 10 seconds can put you and others on the trail in a dangerous position. Before settling on a pair of goggles, always test out how well they prevent fog.

Extra Foam or Rubber on the Sides of the Goggles

Extra foam or rubber that lines the rim of your goggles is to keep out the wind. Wind can easily dry out your eyes and cause chafing and dry skin. Also, when cold wind leaks into your goggles and mixes with your body heat, it will create a lot of fog. You’ll have to remove your goggles and clear it away. 

UV Protection

As you rise in elevation, the atmosphere around the earth becomes thinner, and the sun’s rays become stronger. So you need to protect your retinas and eyes from UV radiation. It is an absolute necessity that you have 100% UV protection on any pair of goggles you wear. Even if it is a grey and cloudy day, the snow still reflects sunlight and UV rays light from the sky, so the surrounding snow can damage your eyes.

Best OTG Goggles

Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan

Smith Knowledge Turbo Fan Ski OTG Goggles

With built-in fans, interchangeable lenses, and inner and outer lens coated with an anti-fog five times over, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another OTG goggle as well designed as the Smith knowledge Turbo. According to reviewers, it may be a bit more expensive at $160, but the fan’s battery lasts for over two days with a single charge.

Unigear OTG Ski Goggles

Unigear OTG Ski Goggles

With its spherical shape, interchangeable lens and 100% UV protection, the Unigear OTG ski goggles are both reliable and inexpensive. Vents are placed at the bottom and top to release moisture and prevent fogging from the inside. On the outside of the lens, it has an anti-fog coating, so your breath doesn’t cloud the surface. Many reviewers say they can leave these goggles on all day, and they’ll never feel uncomfortable.

What is a Prescription Goggle?

The biggest problem with wearing glasses underneath your goggles is that the wearer has to see the rim of their goggles and the rim of the glasses. But what if your goggles could have a prescription lens in them, so you won’t need to wear glasses at all? This is what a prescription goggle is. If a person has a prescription goggle, they can insert a prescription lens into their goggles, and they’ll be able to see. If they wish to wear their glasses underneath their goggles for a while, my prescription insert is removable.

Prescription goggles are similar to prescription sunglasses. When you have prescription sunglasses, you no longer have to wear two glasses on top of their other. So when you have goggles that come with a built-in lens, they don’t have to choose between protecting their eyes from the sun and your vision.

How to Buy Prescription Goggles?

Owning a pair of prescription goggles is a monumental task, and it takes quite a while. First, you should know that the entire goggle lens is not a prescription lens. You have to purchase a prescription insert that you can place in any goggles that allow inserts. 

To purchase prescription inserts, contact your family optometrist if you have one ask if they know how to order prescription inserts. If they do not, they will most likely know a place or service that creates inserts.

If you don’t have a permanent optometrist, you need your official prescription measurement to order your lenses online. There are a couple of websites that specialize in creating prescription lenses. These websites are:

When filling out your prescription online, you have to add the correct measurements. Be careful when filling out the measurements for the sphere, cylinder, axis, add, and PD. Go slowly and take your time. You don’t want to accidentally put down the wrong prescription and lose around $250 or more, do you?

Conclusion

UV rays grow stronger as you rise in altitude, so your goggles need to have 100% UV protection. If you need to wear glasses to correct your vision, there are many options for you to ski and snowboard safely. You can choose to wear contacts underneath your googles, but your eyes might dry. Purchasing a pair of OTG goggles will allow you to keep your glasses on, but now you have to look through two lenses. Or, you can buy prescription inserts and add them to any goggle that can hold inserts. If you choose to buy prescription inserts, there are a large number of stylish and high-quality goggles for you to buy. Make sure that any pair of goggles you own is well-ventilated, has 100% UV protection, and has several anti-fogging features. 


Harry Sowers

Harry has been skiing and snowboarding since he was a boy growing up outside of Denver Colorado. He is most passionate about skiing and when he was in college a UC Boulder he even participated in the olympic trials for the USA Olympic Downhill Ski team.