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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 through 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.

    Enter the Sphere and Cylinder values from your prescription into the Lens Calculator below and click the Calculate button to determine which diopter strength would best suit your needs.


      Sphere Cylinder Diopter Strength
    O.D.
    (right eye)
     
    O.S.
    (left eye)
     

    *This measurement is only a suggestion. It is best to confirm your diopter
    strength with your optometrist.

     
  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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Jhar
3 days ago.
Hi ! my son is in high school competitive swimming team and swims daily for 2 hours.

His prescription is
OD -5 x -1.75 x 010
OS -6.75 x -2.00 x 165

His complains are that his eye goggles (at present) get loose and foggy and leaky after first few laps every day and he has to take breaks to adjust them.
Can you please advice on buying the right ones and avoiding goggle breaks.
Thanks in advance
Appreciate it.
swimmer
2 weeks ago.
Right eye: sphere +1.0 Cylinder -1.75 Axis 170
Left eye: sphere -0.50 Cylinder -0.75 Axis 0.8
Krystal
2 weeks ago.
Could you please help me confirm which goggles would be best for my sons.
1.
Right: -5.50, -1.25, x 60
Left: -5.25, -1.75, x 130

2.
Right: -5.50, -1.50, x 90
Left: -5.50, -1.50 x 130

They are 3 year old twins. Is there a brand/model that you would recommend for this age? Thank you!
Steve
2 weeks ago.
My prescription is: RT: + 3.75, -0.25,120 AND Add +2.50 LT: +3.75,-1.25,020 AND Add +2.50. How does the "Add" number affect the goggle prescription?
shelly
2 weeks ago.
can you help me calculate which goggles to get?
i have a pretty bad astigmatism does that effect it?

my prescription is
od -5.00 -1.50 x 176
os -4.75 -1.50 x 018
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Shelly,
The diopter strength for the OD (right eye) is -5.75 and rounding down will be -5.5. The strength for the OS (left eye) is -5.5. The cylinder, which is the second set of numbers, means the amount of lens power for astigmatism so this is taking into consideration your astigmatism. Your strength will be -5.5 for each eye. If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Karen
2 weeks ago.
Hello - like many others here - I just want to be sure I have this right for my son:
RIGHT eye: -5.25 sphere -1.50 Cylinder = -6.0 goggle lens?
LEFT eye: -5.25 sphere -1.25 Cylinder = -5.5 goggle lens?

Does this mean I should get 2 of a goggle style that I can swap out lenses on?
Thanks for your help
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Karen,
Yes, that information is correct. We suggest you purchase two pairs of goggles that have the option to interchange the lens. For example, the Speedo Vanquisher Optical Goggle and the Sporti Antifog S2 Optical Goggle. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Satsu
2 weeks ago.
I am looking for small tight prescription swim glasses that I can wear for swim. What would my diopter strength be:

Right Eye: SPH: -3.5, CYL: -1.0, AXIS: 180
Left Eye: SPH: -3.00, CYL: -0.75, AXIS: 170

Thank you!
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Satsu,
The diopter strength for the right eye is -4.0. The left eye is -3.375 but we suggest you round down to -3.0. 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. Since you have two different diopter strengths, we suggest you purchase two pairs of goggles and interchange the lens. For example, the Speedo Vanquisher Optical Goggle will allow to change the lens. If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Glenda
3 weeks ago.
We need 3.25 in right and left sidr. Csn this b e done
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Glenda,
We do offer one positive prescription goggle. 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. We offer the Sporti Antifog Positive Optical Goggle in a positive 3.0. If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Bri
3 weeks ago.
Help, Here is my daughters prescription
Right eye: sphere +1.0 Cylinder -1.75 Axis 170
Left eye: sphere -0.50 Cylinder -0.75 Axis 0.8

she is a competitive swimmer
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Bri,
The right eye diopter strength is 0.125 and left eye is -0.875. Unfortunately, the lowest diopter strength we carry is a -1.5. Please check with your optometrist if they are offering goggles with this diopter strength. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Chris
3 weeks ago.
Hi my prescription is Right eye - sphere +0.75, cylinder - 2.75, axis 12 Left eye - sphere +1, cylinder - 3.00, axis 170 Really don't know what lenses I need can you help?
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Chris,
The diopter strength for the right eye is -0.625 and rounding down is -0.5. The strength for the left eye is -0.5. Unfortunately, the lowest diopter strength we carry is a -1.5. Please check with your optometrist if they are offering goggles with a -0.5 diopter strength. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Alisha
3 weeks ago.
Need help calulating my son's goggle prescription. Poor kid can't see a thing without his glasses! OD= -8.50 SPH -4.00 CYL OS= -9.25 SPH -2.50 CYL Does he need a -10 for both eyes? Thanks for your help!
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Alisha,
Yes, your son would need a pair in -10.0. Please let us know if you have any further questions. Have a great day!
HP
5 weeks ago.
Hi,
My son's prescription is -6.5 sphere and -.75 Cylinder and -7.25 Sphere and -0.75 Cylinder. I know that i will need -6.875 and -7.625. Would you suggest i buy two customs pairs? I was looking at speedo vanquisher but can i interchange the lens in it? Please let me know.
Thanks,
Hitesh
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi HP,
We suggest you purchase two pairs. The lenses are interchangeable, you can disassemble and reassemble the lenses. If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
April
1 month ago.
Hi,
My problem is trying to see my heart rate watch. I am somewhat farsighted due to cataract surgery. My prescription is:
R eye sphere -0.25 cylinder --0.50
L eye sphere + 1.25, cylinder -1.50

Can you help?
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi April,
Given the formula to determine the diopter strength you need: 1/2 of the cylinder + sphere = diopter strength. The diopter strength for the right eye is -0.5 and 0.5 on the left eye. Unfortunately, our prescription goggles are either negative or positive and don't offer a mix of negative and positive in a pair. Since you have a negative on the right eye and a positive on the left eye, we suggest you contact your optometrist for custom swim goggles. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Nancy
1 month ago.
Seems I am a bit confused by the algorithm- perhaps you can help

R +.5 (Sphere) -.75 (Cyl) 90 (Axis)

L +.75 (Sphere) -.75 (Cyl) 70 (Axis)

I keep getting a really low positive number (.125 for right and .375 for left) and just want to check to make sure I'm getting this correct
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Nancy,
I double checked and that is the correct diopter strength. If you have any questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Barti
1 month ago.
Hi,
My daughter is 11 years. Her eye sight is a little complicated;
Right Eye: Sphere: -3.50; Cylinder: -3.00, Axis: 04
Left Eye: Sphere: -3.50, Cylinder: -3.00, Axis: 178

I need help with my daughter's prescription please. She is with swim league, practices 3 times a week, and swim meets at least 2 a month. Kindly recommend brand and prescription for her.

We really appreciate your help.
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Barti,
Given the formula, her diopter strength is -5.0 for both eyes. I would recommend the following two pairs:

Speedo Jr. Vanquisher Optical Goggle [For ages 8+, great option if she needs a smaller frame]

Speedo Vanquisher Optical Goggle [Great option, if she is already wearing adult size frames]

If you have further questions, feel free to reach us anytime!
Sharon
1 month ago.
I need help to decide my son's prescription google.

Right -7.25 (Sphere) +1.75 (Cylinder)
Left - 7.50 (Sphere) + 1.75(Cylinder)

Thanks
SwimOutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Sharon,
Your son's diopter strength is Right: -6.375 and Left: -6.625. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -6.0 and one in -6.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Robyn
1 month ago.
My daughters prescription is 8.5 BC 14.2 Dia -4.25 left eye and -4.50 right eye power What should I order for her.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Robyn,
I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -4.0 and one in -4.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Avnish
1 month ago.
Hello, My son's prescription is as follows and complicated by astigmatism: Left: cylinder +2.5 / sphere 0 / Axis 75 Right: cylinder +2.25 / sphere 0/ Axis 102 Thanks, Avnish
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Avnish,
Your son's diopter strength is Left: +1.25 and Right: +1.25. Our positive prescription goggles start at +2.0. I would suggest getting regular goggles or trying out pair in +2.0. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Melissa
1 month ago.
Hello

My son's prescription reads:

RT: Sphere -.50 Cylinder- SPH
LT: Sphere -1.00 Cylinder -SPH

What would you recommend for the my son's googles? Does his prescription include anti-fog option?

Thank You,

Melissa
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Melissa,
Your son's diopter strength is RT: -0.75 and LT: -1.5. Prescription goggles start at -1.5 so I would suggest getting one pair at -1.5 or opting for regular goggles. I would recommend you double check with your optometrist. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Robert Brown
2 months ago.
I think I have this correct but I want to be sure. My son's prescription is
Right - Sphere: -2.50 Cyl: Sphere
Left - Sphere: -2.75 Cyl: Sphere

So should I go with 2 pair one of -2.50 and one of -2.75 and create 2 custom pair?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Robert,
Your son's diopter strength is Right: -3.75 and Left: -4.125. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -3.5 and one in -4.0) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions.
Pat
2 months ago.
My friend has a prescription of:
OD = Sph +1.75 Cyl -.75 Axis 154 Dist PD 31.5
OS = Sph +1.25 Cyl. SPH Dist PD 31.5
I calculate 1.4 in Right and 1.3 in left

My prescription is:
RT = Sph -2.50 Cyl -0.75 Axis 60
LT = Sph -1.75 Cyl -1.0 Axis 90
I calculate mine as right -2.9 and left -2.3

Are these calculations correct?

Thanks,

Psy
Vanessa S
4 months ago.
My daughter is +2.75 Spherical -3.75 cylindrical 005 axis +2.00 Spherical -3.00 cylindrical 180 axis What would be her goggle prescription
Heeken
5 months ago.
hello!

my prescription is

od: -2.00-0.75 x 180
os: -1.50-1.75 x 180

can you help me? what do I have to buy?

thanks
Kim Fowler
5 months ago.
Hi, can you tell me what strength goggles I should buy for my daughter?
Her prescription reads as follows:

-1.00 Spherical -0.25 cylindrical 115 axis
-0.75 Spherical -0.25 cylindrical 071 axis

Thank you very much!
Noreen
5 months ago.
Hi, can u help me what is the best prescription goggle i should purchase for my son. He has a prescription of:

OD +4.00 -1.00 x 180
OS + 400 -1.00 x 180
PD 60

Thanks
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