White Water Rafting With Glasses

Good vision is essential when you’re embarking on a white water rafting adventure. You must be able to see any obstacles that lie ahead on the river so that you can assist your fellow rafters in paddling around them. And you don’t want to miss out on all the spectacular scenery!

Of course, not everyone has 20/20 vision. Some people must wear eyeglasses or corrective lenses on a full-time basis, even when they’re engaging in outdoor activities.

One of the most common questions we get from first-time white water rafters here at Southeastern Expeditions is whether they can wear their eyeglasses when they’re on the river. While there’s no rule against wearing glasses, it’s not advisable for a variety of reasons:

  • Loss: Some parts of the river can get rough, and the surf can knock off even the most tightly fitting glasses. You can wear a strap or a specially designed eyeglass holder, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll stay in place. Some people also find that straps and holders are uncomfortable.
  • Blotches: You’re going to get splashed while you’re on the river — there’s no way to avoid it. When water splashes, it can obscure your vision. You’ll need to wipe your glasses off frequently to maintain clear vision, which isn’t practical while holding onto your paddles.
  • Fogging: The combination of warm, humid air and cold water can create steam that will cause your glasses to fog up. Steamy lenses can completely obstruct your vision, which can be dangerous when you’re navigating rough waters.
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If you decide on wearing eyeglasses, we recommend wearing your backup glasses when you’re white water rafting. The last thing you want is to lose or damage expensive eyewear.

What Are the Alternatives to Glasses?

Some choices are available to rafters and kayakers who don’t want to wear glasses while they’re on the river but can’t see well enough without them:

  • Contact lenses: Many rafters have had success wearing contacts. Unlike glasses, they won’t get knocked off, and they don’t require frequent adjustments to keep them in place. However, contact lenses are still susceptible to splashing, and there have been many instances where rafters lost a lens to a high wave.
  • Prescription goggles: While there’s no such thing as white water rafting glasses, there’s another option. Specialty eyewear such as prescription sports goggles will fit more securely than regular eyeglasses, but they won’t always resolve the splashing or fogging issues. Goggles also take some getting used to, so you might want to wear them a few times before going on your white water rafting journey.
  • Laser surgery: Laser corrective surgery could dramatically improve your eyesight, which will benefit you both on and off the water. Of course, this alternative isn’t a practical or acceptable option for everyone.
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Contact Us to Learn More

Here at Southeastern Expeditions, we want to do everything we can to make your white water adventure as safe and enjoyable as possible. Contact us for more rafting eyewear tips and advice today.

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