This invention has to do with eyewear such as goggles,
masks, glasses and spectacles. We particularly envisage use of the new ideas for
In general terms eyewear can be regarded as having one
or more eyepieces. Swimming goggles usually have two separate eyecups connected
by a flexible or stiff nosebridge which may be length-adjustable. Typical racing
goggles have small eyecups that seat inside the wearer's eye sockets. Larger goggles
have a forwardly-directed lens - usually flat but it may be curved - surrounded
by a frame structure with a rear-directed part shaped to contact against the face
around the eyes, including along the brow, and which may have a flexible edge seal
to keep water out. The lens portion and rear-directed frame/seal portion may be
made up from discrete elements - usually so with larger goggles - or formed in one
piece, e.g. as a moulding of plastics such as polycarbonate, usually for racing
By contrast a mask usually only has one lens piece with
a single frame part, although this may have a narrow central region and indeed when
the central region is sufficiently narrow these are effectively goggles.
The present proposals have to do with the way in which
eyewear such as goggles is held on the face. For goggles and masks, the conventional
means has been a strap extending around the back of the head and anchoring to anchor
points at the lateral extremities of the eyepieces. The straps may be elastic, elastomeric
or substantially inelastic; they may have length adjustment by elasticity and/or
by means of the sliding buckles, adjusters and the like. Cords may be used. Spectacles
and sunglasses normally have earpieces, with a hook part to secure the eyewear by
hooking over the ear. Whichever the mode chosen, there are essentially some form
of side retainers attaching to the one or more eyepieces of the eyewear somewhere
near the front of the head, and extending back as a strap, cord or earpiece.
describes a pair of swimming goggles comprising a pair of frames encircling
respective lenses, and side retainers in the form of a strap.
Our general proposal now is to give the side retainer a
forwardly branched form, with limbs of the side retainer connecting to the eyepiece
at spaced upper and lower connection points. Preferably the vertical spacing of
these connection points is at least 50% of the maximum vertical extent (distance
between the highest and lowest contacts against the face) of the eyepiece as a whole.
The connection points may be respectively adjacent to the top and bottom edges of
the eyepiece. Preferably they are inward and/or forward of the lateral extremity
of the eyepiece. The lower connection may be more medial than the upper, taking
into account the more sloping contour of the face below the eye socket.
The use of this branched side retainer construction has
a number of advantages, which vary from one kind of eyewear to another.
In general, there is an issue with eyewear that fits closely
against the face (particularly goggles) of undesirably localised pressure on parts
of the face when the eyewear is fastened on. Especially where the eyewear fastener
is one that is tightened, i.e. where there is a persisting force along the side
retainers urging the eyewear back against the face around the eye sockets, this
force must be then balanced by the reaction against the face. The pattern of reaction
of the face to this force against the eyepiece(s) is sensitive to the exact contours
of the face, and affected by the significant sideways or circumferential direction
of the pull from the fastener, especially with conventional transmission of the
force through single fastener securements at lateral extremities of the eyepieces.
With a branched connection as now proposed, the points of application of force from
the fastener are distributed around the eyepiece(s). The eyepiece(s) can then more
readily adjust its/their fit against the face to provide the necessary reaction,
without so much concentration of forces (pressure) at those face surfaces which
oppose a simple circumferential pull.
The better distribution of force also reduces leakage.
Preferably the connection of the limbs of the branched
side retainer to the eyepiece is pivotable or flexible to facilitate even distribution
The branched side retainer may take various forms. Preferably
there are two limbs, an upper and a lower, connecting respectively to upper and
lower portions of the corresponding eyepiece. It is possible to have more limbs,
e.g. a third, connecting to an intermediate point e.g. at or adjacent the lateral
extremity of the eyepiece. The connections to the eyepiece can be essentially point
connections (which may be pivotable as mentioned above), although one or more connection
loci distributed around the lateral extremity of the eyepiece are possible; if only
one, the upper and lower extremities of the connection can be assessed for the positional
criteria mentioned above.
Preferably the connections of the side retainer limbs to
the eyepiece are discrete joints, i.e. the limbs and eyepiece are not integral.
In a preferred form the branched side retainer is made
from resilient plastics or metal. Its limbs are preferably bendable but substantially
inextensible along their length. Preferably they diverge forwardly from a rear union.
This rear union may have or carry a connection means, such as a hook, hole, clip
or buckle, for a cord or strap to pass around the back of the head. Alternatively
it may connect to or comprise an earpiece hook. A preferred branched connector is
formed in one piece of plastics or metal, e.g. from tough engineering plastics such
as nylon, nylon alloy or acetyl resin: these are strong and durable but light.
A preferred side retainer is in the form of a wishbone,
moulded in one piece from a resilient plastics material and having two limbs diverging
forwardly from a rear connector body. Each may have at its tip a connector for pivotable
connection to an eyepiece. A suitable connection is by a rivet or stud, integral
with a limb tip or passing through a hole in it, which snaps and/or bonds into a
corresponding socket in the eyepiece. Or, a stud might be integral with the eyepiece.
The rear connector body has a fastening means, such as a through-hole or hook for
connection to a strap or cord to secure behind the head.
Desirably the limbs of the branched side retainer have
substantially the same cross-sectional thickness along at least most of their length.
A preferred limb length, e.g. between union and connection point in the above embodiment,
is between 4 and 12 cm.
The branched connectors described can be flexible, but
withstand tensile forces without significant stretching. This is valuable because
for racing, a tight fit is necessary. With a conventional rubber strap long enough
to extend right around the head, you need to take up a long tightening adjustment
to get the necessary tension. It has been determined that straps are responsible
for substantial drag. They are also rather dense. A branched connector as described,
which can be made from plastics material, reduces these difficulties. Because it
can occupy a significant circumferential length, the length of stretchable or otherwise
adjustable strap is reduced: consequently the necessary take up of slack is reduced
and a tight fit is more easily got. The strap may be elastomeric, elasticated cord
or ordinary cord. It may be continuous, have a slide adjustment, be secured by a
buckle, hook, clip or other tightening or fastening mechanism, or have free ends
While self-supporting (i.e. having a predetermined 3D shape
when not under load) and non-elastomeric branched connectors have advantages, any
branched side retainer can offer some advantage of force distribution. So, it is
possible in other embodiments for the side retainer to be flaccid and/or elastomeric.
In preferred embodiments the side retainer connector as
described above is used in conjunction with goggles having separate left and right
eyecups, preferably racing goggles in which the eyecups are dimensioned to seat
in the eye sockets. They may be one piece-moulded eyecups. Such eyecups may have
a flat lens portion with a contoured surround extending back to meet the face at
a contoured edge. The rearward edge of the surround forms a seal, and may carry
or incorporate a deformable seal element to improve the seal and its comfort.
Our particularly preferred eyecup form for a racing goggle
has a tapering lateral wing portion shaped to extend out to or beyond the lateral
extremity of the wearer's eye socket and to the side of the head. This is an independently
new feature in one-piece eyepiece cups, which conventionally sit right inside the
eye socket. A lateral wing portion extending substantially to the side of the head
can substantially reduce drag generated in that region. Our preferred wing portion
is convex adjacent a boundary of the (flat) lens portion (which is preferably oval
in outline) and extends convexly out to a tip, which in use lies close to the side
of the head. As mentioned, this tip may connect to a further limb of a side retainer
as defined previously.
An embodiment of our proposals is now described with reference
to the attached drawings, in which:
- Fig. 1 is a top view of racing swimming goggles;
- Fig. 2 is a sectional view, at II-II of Fig. 1;
- Figs. 3 and 4 are a perspective view and front view of the goggles;
- Fig. 5 is a perspective view showing connections disengaged for clarity, and
- Fig. 6 is a perspective view showing a strap fitted.
With reference to Figs. 1 to 3, racing goggles for swimmers
have two separate one-piece eyecups 1 connected by a nosebridge 2. Respective wishbone
frame elements 3 connect to the outer edges of the eyecups 1.
Each eyecup 1 is a one-piece moulded polycarbonate unit,
having an oval front flat lens portion 12 through which the swimmer sees, and a
convex contoured surround or frame portion 13 extending back from the lens portion
12 and having a rear edge 136 contoured to fit against the wearer's face inside
the eye socket. For comfort and a closeness of fit, the rear edge carries a soft
resilient seal pad 14. In this embodiment this is provided by injection-moulding
a TPR or silicone gel onto a retaining step formation on the edge of the moulded
polycarbonate unit - see Fig. 2. The contoured cup surround 13 has a medial part
131 which lies adjacent to the nose, extending round into upper and lower portions
132 and a lateral wing 133. This lateral wing 133 is a new and characteristic feature.
Conventional one-piece cups have substantially the same amount of surround all the
way around, extending straight back so that the lateral extremity terminates approximately
at the dotted line X shown in Fig. 3. In the present design the lateral extremity
sets out at a greater lateral inclination and is greatly extended by comparison
with the other parts of the surround 13, to at least twice the length (measured
from the edge of the lens portion 12) of any of the other surround parts. It extends
in a tapering convex formation back to a rounded tip or point 134. When the goggles
are worn, this tip 134 extends out at the lateral extremity of the eye socket and
onto the side of the head by the temples, providing a fairing or drag-reducing effect
at what would otherwise be a stepped shape.
Each eyecup 1 has a medial front lug 11 with a hole 111
to which the nosebridge 2 is attached by a stud 21. In the example a stiff plastics
nosebridge (e.g. a one-piece moulding of nylon alloy resin) is shown. The user selects
a nosebridge length that suits their face. This is one option. It is also possible
to use other (e.g. conventional) adjustable nosebridges, which may be string or
cord, or to use a nosebridge integrated with the eyepieces.
A particularly distinctive feature of the new goggles is
the provision of wishbone connectors 3 connecting to the sides of the eyecups 1.
These connectors 3 are one piece plastics mouldings of suitable tough engineering
plastics e.g. nylon alloy or acetyl resin. Each connector has a rear connection
union 33, provided in this embodiment by a small oval plate with a central hole
34. Two thin connection limbs 31 extend forward divergently from this rear union
33. Their distal ends have fastener portions 32 at which they are anchored directly
to the moulded eyecup body. The upper and lower limbs anchor respectively into upper
and lower anchorage points. These are positioned substantially at the height of
the top and bottom of the lens portion respectively; this is also essentially at
the top and bottom of the eyecup considered as a whole. As well as diverging up
and down to these positions, the limbs 31 are moulded or preformed with an inwardly
curved shape (see Fig. 1) so that their rear unions 33 lie close alongside the head
while their distal limb portions curve around in front of the eye socket region.
That is to say, they are preformed to conform to the head outline.
The fasteners used to anchor the limb tips 32 into the
eyecup 1 may be chosen in accordance with materials used. In this version they are
small rivets 37 snapped and/or bonded directly into corresponding sockets 17 moulded
into the eyecups. See Fig. 5. They permit a degree of pivoting of the wishbone limb
31 around the connection, so that the arrangement can flex in use and avoid heavy
stresses. These fastenings 32 may be permanent or releasable.
One factor in deciding the kind of fastener is that it
may be desirable to have an interchangeable range of styles or types of components,
e.g. eyecups 1, wishbone connectors 3 and nosebridges 2. As regards the eyecups,
a user may want to select from possible variants of shape, size and tint. As regards
the wishbone frames 3, a user may wish to select from variants of colour, length
shape or rigidity. Nosebridges might be chosen for length, type or adjustability.
A customer can choose from available component options which can then be connected
together e.g. by the supplier or at a point of sale. These connections may be permanent,
i.e. impossible or difficult to disassemble by the customer, or they may be made
more readily releasable so the user can change the combination later if wished.
A flexible strap, e.g. a double latex strap 9 as shown
in Fig. 6, is connected to the holes 34 in the wishbone elements.
When worn, the wishbone union 33 preferably lies close
above the ear; the wishbone 3 distributes strap force as described previously improving
The illustrated construction is light in weight, comfortable
to wear, low in drag and has a good appearance.