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How to Choose Prescription Swim Goggles


If you require corrective lenses to see clearly, you may also want to purchase goggles with prescription lenses for the pool. Luckily, there are several companies that manufacture prescription goggles in a variety of styles. This guide walks you how to choose the prescription goggles that are best for you.

The Lens

Prescription goggles come with ready-made spherical lenses of varying strengths known as diopters, or step diopters. This type of lens production is similar to the generic reading glasses found in pharmacies: The prescription will be a close match to your own, but may not be as precise as that in the glasses or contact lenses you use every day. For use in the water (an already-blurry environment), step diopter prescription glasses are perfectly adequate. They are also more widely available and affordable than custom-made prescription goggles from a doctor's office.

Negative diopter lenses are the most commonly available goggles, and are intended for those with nearsighted or myopic vision. Lenses range in diopters from -1.5 to -10.0 and come in increments of 0.5. Positive diopter lenses are for farsighted swimmers, and are less common.

Finding Your Diopter Strength

The first step to choosing prescription goggles is determining the diopter strength that most closely matches your current prescription. Follow the below steps, or ask your doctor to help you choose the best ones for you.

  1. Get your most current prescription numbers.
  2. Calculate the strength of the diopter you need using this formula:

             1/2 of the cylinder + sphere = diopter strength

    Sphere is the degree of weakness in diopters. This is always a negative number for nearsighted people, and a positive number for farsighted. Cylinder is the degree of astigmatism in your eye. Add half of this number to the sphere to determine diopter strength.

  3. To choose a diopter lens, simply find the one that has a prescription closest to your own. A general rule of thumb when choosing a diopter lens is to round down — rather than up — to the prescription that most closely matches your own. This places less strain on your eyes.

For example, if your prescription is a sphere of -5.0 and a cylinder of +2.0, then (1/2 x +2.0) + -5.0 = -4.0 step diopter lens. Or if your prescription is a sphere: -2.0 and a cylinder: -1.0, then (1/2 x -1.0) + -2.0 = -2.0 (rounded up from -2.5) step diopter lens.

Choose the Goggle Model

Prescription goggles have come a long way in recent years. Prescription goggle users can now choose from lenses and goggle frames that are just as sleek and hydrodynamic as non-prescription goggles.

  • There are both recreational and racing styles of prescription goggles. Serious swimmers and lap swimmers will want to buy a racing style and should look for low profile frames, or those with "racing" in the model name.
  • Swimmers who rarely do lap swimming and just want an alternative to going without glasses in the water — such as masks or goggles with larger lenses — should look at recreational models. These have more generously padded frames and offer wider peripheral vision.
  • Some brands (such as Aqua Sphere™) offer separate prescription lenses that can be inserted into specific goggle models. Make doubly sure that the lenses you order are compatible with your goggle frames. This may be a good option for swimmers whose eyes have significantly different prescriptions.
  • There are a few brands (such as Sporti™) that design bifocal goggles, with just the lower half of the lens set to a certain prescription.
  • One of the few brands that offer positive diopter lenses is Hilco™, with their Z Leader goggle model.

Prescription goggles may be a bit more expensive than non-prescription goggles, but they are still very affordable (and getting more so every year). If you are having trouble deciding which goggles to buy, consider asking your optometrist. Once you have your goggles, it may take a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to new lens, but after a short adjustment period, you should be able to use them adequately in the pool.

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Greg
15 hours, 33 minutes ago.
Hi. My prescription is very different for each eye due to surgery. It is :
OD -7.5 Cylinder +1.25 Axis 97 Add +2.00
OS -4.75 Cylinder +.50. Axis 80 Add +2.00

I am a recreational swimmer. Do I need two pair of goggles, and replace the lenses? What are my options?

Thanks!
Swimoultet.com
13 hours, 45 minutes ago.
HI Greg,

Your diopter strength would be -6.8 & -4.5. You can either get one pair at -4.5 or 2 pairs (one in -4.5 and one in -6.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. I hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
James
1 day ago.
I want to thank you for being available. It is great to make it possible for people as blind as me to be able to see under water. I do need your help please to make sure I order the correct product.

In order spherical; cylindrical; axis
OD -7.25; -1.00; 50
OS -7.75; -1.00; 120

Thank you.
Swimoutlet.com
13 hours, 54 minutes ago.
Hi James,

Your diopter strength would be -7.75 & -8.25. So you can either go with one pair at -7.5 or 2 pairs (-7.5 & -8.0) and interchange the eye pieces for custom pairs. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Terry
4 days ago.
I am farsighted and need to get +3.0 for both eyes. Where can I find those?
Are they ever made in bifocals? I am + 6.0 for near. Thanks
Swimoutlet.com
2 days ago.
Hi Terry,

We do not carry any goggles that come in bifocals. The link below will take you to the only positive diopter pair that we have. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=10807
Chris
6 days ago.
Just want to make sure I've got this figured properly.
OD: -5.25 (sph) -1.0 (cyl)
OS: -5.00 (sph) -0.75 (cyl)

I figured that to be -5.75 & -5.375, so would I order a -5, -5.5 or a -6?
Swimoutlet.com
5 days ago.
Hi Chris,

Your calculations are absolutely correct! So you can order either one pair with a -5 prescription or 2 pairs (one in -5 and one in -5.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. We do not recommend getting anything higher or stronger than your prescription. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Steve R
2 weeks ago.
Can you please tell me what prescription goggles I would need to order.
OD -1.00 Spherical -1.00 Cylinder Axis 123
OS -.50 Spherical -1.50 Cylinder Axis 87
Swimoutlet.com
1 week ago.
Hi Steve,

Your diopter strength would be -1.5 and -1.25. Since your prescription is lower than -2, you probably will be able to get away with using just regular goggles. The lowest diopter strength we carry is -2 but you may be able to find lower ones by doing a search on Google. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Nazanin Davis
2 weeks ago.
Hi,
I got my prescription that says:
OD: +5.25sphere -1.25cylinder
OS: +5.50sphete -1.25cylinder

Please let me know what I need to order. Thank you
Swimoutlet.com
1 week ago.
Hi Nazanin,

Your diopter strength would be +4.6 & +4.8. We do not have too many positive diopter goggles but the one that we have can be found in the link below. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=10807
Rene
2 weeks ago.
Can you please help me determine what prescription goggles to purchase with my glasses prescription of
OD= Sphere: -2.75 Cylinder: -0.50
OS= Sphere: -2.75 Cylinder: -0.25
Thanks
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Rene,

Your diopter strength is -3 & -2.87. You should be able to get a pair in -3. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Greg
2 weeks ago.
Hello!
My prescription is:
OD: -4.75 +1.00 177
OS : -5.00 +1.25 178
Appreciate if you help me to choose the correct googles.
Thank you, Greg
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Greg,

Since your sphere and cylinder values are not clearly stated, Im assuming your diopter strength will be -4.25 & -4.37. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Dee
2 weeks ago.
Hello. Would you please let me know the proper goggle strength for this prescription? Thank you.

OD - 1.50 - 0.50 x 027
OS - 1.50 - 0.75 x 168
PD = 60
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Dee,

Since the Sphere and Cylinder values are not clearly stated Im assuming then that your diopter strength would be -1.75 & -1.87. Since your prescription is below -2 you may get away with wearing just normal goggles. We unfortunately do not carry anything lower than a -2. You may try doing a Google search to see if theres any other sites that do have lower prescription. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Andy
3 weeks ago.
Hi, I want to confirm what's best to order for my daughter.

OD Sphere: -.75
OD Cyl: -1.00
OD Axis: 110

OS Sphere: -.50
OS Cyl: -1.50
OS Axis: 090

We're open to buying two pair if we can interchange. Please let me know which side should be which number if possible. We plan to use the Vanquisher which starts at -1.5.
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Andy,

Your daughter's diopter strength would be: -1.3 & -1.75. Since her prescription is fairly low, she may be able to get away with just normal non prescription goggles. The lowest we carry is -2.0 but you may be able to find lower strengths. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Bron
3 weeks ago.
Worried I will get this all wrong so would appreciate help working it out!
OD SPHERE -7.0 Cyl -0.5
OS SPHERE 6.25 Cyl -0.75

What diopter do I need?
Thanks!
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Bron,

No worries! We would be happy to assist you with this! Your diopter strength would be -7.25 & -6.6 (or +5.8 if your sphere is +6.25) Im not sure if you forgot to add the negative sign (-) in front of the 6.25 or its a positive strength so I have both diopter strengths for you. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Kimberly
4 weeks ago.
Hi,I got my prescription over the phone and this is what she gave me..I hope you can help me figure out what lenses I would need.

R
-2.50,-.50 x 174
L
-4.25,.75 x 173
+ 1.75(or 175) add power
Thanks
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Kimberly,

I'm assuming the first numbers are the sphere values and the 2nd numbers are the cylinder values.. But you may want to confirm this with your optometrist. With that assumption, your diopter strength would be -2.7 & -4.6. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Rene C
4 weeks ago.
Hi,
Please help me calculate the proper strength for swim goggles.
My prescription is-
Sphere Cylinder Axis
OD -2.75
OS -2.75 -0.25 180

Thanks for your help
Rene
Rene C
4 weeks ago.
Hi, Please help me calculate the proper strength goggle for my daughters prescription of
Sphere Cylinder. Axis
OD. -2.75.
OS. -2.75. -0.25 180

Thanks in advance for your assistance.
Rene
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Rene,

We would be happy to help you, but since you dont have a Cylinder value for your OD, we do recommend that you contact your optometrist to have them calculate your daughter's prescription. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Francine Wainer
4 weeks ago.
Hi - I need help in calculating for prescription swim goggles for my daughter.
The prescription reads:
R: +2.500 Sphere; +.750 Cyl.; 90 Axis
L: +2.250 Sphere; +.500 Cyl; 90 Axis

This is urgent as we are leaving on vacation and she lost her goggles!
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Francine,

Her diopter strength would be +2.8 & +2.5. We do not have alot of positive prescription goggles but the link below will show you the one we do have. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=10807
Ary
1 month ago.
Would you please let me know the proper goggle strength for this prescription? Thank you.

Right: -5.0 (sphere) -3.0 (cylinder) 20 (axis) Left: -5.0(sphere) -3.0 (cylinder) 150 (axis)
PD 65
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Ary,

Sure! Your diopter strength is -6.5 for both eyes. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Yassy
1 month ago.
My brothers prescription says
Right: -3.25 with a cyl of -0.50 and axis of 145
Left: -3.50 and it just says sph under cyl and no axis provided and it does mentioned prism. How can I do these calculations since mine were off
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Yassy,

I would recommend that you contact your optometrist for the correct diopter strength. It may be just -3.5 for your left eye, but you should confirm that with your optometrist first. Let us know if you have any other questions. Thank you!
Sophie
1 month ago.
My prescription does not include the cylinder, it just says SPH. If my sphere is -3.00 would I just order Negative 3.0 prescription goggles?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Sophie,

Please contact your optometrist to get your diopter strength. Most likely it will be -3 but just to be on the save side I would recommend that you contact your optometrist to confirm. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Victor
1 month ago.
My prescription reads:
-4.25 -1.50 x 25
-3.50 -1.25 x 165

I'm not sure what diopter strength I should purchase
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Victor,

If Im reading your prescription correctly, your diopter would be -5 & -4.1. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Katie
1 month ago.
I need help figuring out what strength lenses I need.

OD Sphere -7.00 Cylinder -0.75 Axis 175
OS Sphere -7.00 Cylinder -1.00 Axis 165

Thank you.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Katie,

Your diopter strength would be -7.3 and -7.5. So you would either get a -7.0 pair or get 2 pairs (one in -7.0 and one in -7.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 pairs of custom goggles. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Lamar
1 month ago.
So if my sphere is -5.25 (OD) and -5.25 (Cylinder) (well my prescription says in the cylinder box (SPH.) and the -5.00 (OS) and -0.75 (Cylinder).

My numbers would be OD: -7.875 and OS: -5.375 if that is correct.
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Lamar,

Thats correct! You would probably then want to go with -7.5 and -5.0 since the increments go by 0.5. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Kayla
1 month ago.
Hi my Rx reads as the following:

OD -6.75 (SPH), -0.25 (CYL), 95 (Axis)
OS -5.75 (SPH), -0.75 (CYL), 85 (Axis)

Which googles should I purchase?

Thank you
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Kayla,

Your diopter strength would be -6.8 & -6.1. So you can either get one pair in -6 or you can get 2 pairs (one in -6 and one in -6.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom goggles. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Angela
1 month ago.
Hello, My son' numbers are:
R -2.5, -.50
L -2.25, -.25

If I;m doing this right, I am doing a strenth of -2.75 in the right and -2.37 in the left. Which goggle should I get -2.5 or -2?

Read more at: http://www.swimoutlet.com/guides/how-to-choose-prescription-goggles
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Angela,

Im assuming his cylinder values are -.50 & -.25 and sphere are -2.5 & -2.25. then your calculations are absolutely correct. You have a choice of either getting one pair at -2.0 or 2 pairs (one in -2.0 & one in -2.5) and interchanging the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Susan
1 month ago.
What diopter strength would I order for my prescription.
O.D. -2.50 spherical, -0.50 cylindrical, axis 173
O.S. -2.00 spherical, -0.75 cylindrical, axis 2
Thank you
SwimOutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Susan,

Your diopter strength would be -2.7 & -2.3. Since our prescription goggles increase by increments of 0.5, you would want to get either a -2.0 pair or 2 pairs (one in -2.0 and one in -2.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Steven
1 month ago.
Please help

Right eye: Sphere -5.50 Cylinder -1.25
Left eye: Sphere -4.75 Cylinder -0.75
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
HI Steven,

Your diopter strength would be Right: -6.1 Left: -5.1. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
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