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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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ec
3 hours, 23 minutes ago.
Hi, the example says general rule is to round DOWN rather than UP, but in your example it says you rounded UP from -2.5 to -2 instead of down to -3. This is confusing me on whether I should round up or down.


Could you please help me determine my diopter strength?

OD: -4.50 FPH and -2.75 CYL (excess 005)
OS: -4.75 FPH and -2.25 CYL (excess 007)
MLisa Mitchell
3 days ago.
my son is 7 yrs old and here is his prescription:
OD SPHERE -5.75 CYLINDER -0.50 AXIS 017
OS SPHERE -7.00 CYLINDER -4.25 AXIS 179
Swimoutlet.com
3 hours, 43 minutes ago.
Hi Lisa,

His diopter strength would be -6 & -9.1. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
mnc
6 days ago.
OD: sphere -0.00 cylinder -1.00 axis 105 = -0.50
OS: sphere -0.25 cylinder -0.50 axis 37 = -0.50
PD: 63/60

which goggles should I get negative 1.0 or negative 1.5
SwimOutlet.com
6 days ago.
Hi there!

Your diopter strength is -0.5. Since your prescription is under -1, you probably will be okay with just regular nonprescription goggles. We do not carry any prescription goggles between +1 and -1. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Tania
1 week ago.
Can you confirm calculation for my son's goggles?

OD SPHERE: +3.00 cylinder: -1.50 axis: 80
OS SPHERE: +2.50 cylinder: -0.50 axis: 105

Just want to make sure I order correctly. Thank you!
Tania
Swimoutlet.com
1 week ago.
Hi Tania,

Your son's diopter strength would be +2.25 for both eyes. We don't have too many positive diopter strength goggles. The one we do carry can be found in the link below. 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
Ian
2 weeks ago.
OD Sphere -1.75 Cylinder -0.25 Axis 015

OS Sphere -1.00 Cylinder -0.75 Axis 147

Diopter strength -1.875 OD and -1.375 OS.

Should I purchase a -2 or -1.5 OD Diopter, and a -1 or -1.5 OS Diopter.

Thank you!
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Ian,

You would want to go with a -1.0 if you want 1 pair or -1.0 and -1.5 for 2 pairs to interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. You do not want to go with anything higher than your diopter strength as that can hurt your eyes. We do not carry anything lower than a -2 strength so you may be able to get away with regular nonprescription goggles since your prescription is not as strong. You can also do a search on Google to see if theres any sites that do make the lower prescriptions. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Rebecca
2 weeks ago.
Could also use some help calculating my diopter:
OD: -5.75 -1.75 x042
OS: -6.00 -0.75 x152
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Rebecca,

It looks like your diopter strength (If Im reading your prescription correctly) would be -6.6 & -6.3. I would recommend that you contact your optometrist to confirm as well since the cylinder and sphere values are not clearly noted. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful day!
Anton T
2 weeks ago.
Sphere
OD: -1.25
OS: -1.25
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Anton,

Thank you for providing your sphere strengths but the calculation also calls for the cylinder strength. If you do not have those numbers please check with your optometrist. They can also calculate your diopter strength over the phone. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Michael
2 weeks ago.
Hello, my optician provided these numbers in response to my request for my prescription- they mean nothing to me, perhaps you could translate them and let me know if you can supply swim goggles that would be appropriate for me? Much appreciated.
R -425 -300 090 +200
L -625 -375 090 +200
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Michael,

Since your prescription doesnt clearly state which is the cylinder and which is the sphere value, I'm going to assume (from other prescriptions) that the first set of numbers are the spheres and the last set are the cylinders. From that, I get your diopter to be R -5.75 & L -8.12. I would double check with your optometrist though to confirm. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Michelle
2 weeks ago.
Trying to pick out goggles and not sure if I am calculating right. My prescription reads exactly like this:

-175-050x32
-150-050x145
Please Help. Thanks.
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Michelle,

Since you dont have the cylinder and sphere values clearly noted, Im assuming the first set of numbers are the sphere and the 2nd set are the cylinder values. Then your diopter strength would be -2 & -1.75. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
MJ
2 weeks ago.
My prescription is as follows:

R: SPH -1.75 CYL -0.75 AXIS 130.00
L: SPH -1.75 CYL -1.00 AXIS 30.0

What would your recommended prescription be? Would I need a different lens in each eye or can I get away with a Step Diopter Pair?

Thanks in advance...
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi MJ,

Your diopter strength is -2.1 & -2.25. You should be able to get away with a -2 pair since your prescription is not too different in each eye. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Jerry
2 weeks ago.
Could you tell me what strength I need for swim goggles...and if you have any that would work for me. Thanks!

Rt: Spherical -10.25 Cylindrical +325
Lt: Spherical -10.25 Cylindrical +175
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Jerry,

Your diopter strength is: RT: -8.6 and LT: -9.3. Our strongest prescription goes up to -8 so that may not be strong enough for you. You would probably need a -8.5. You may want to do a Google search to see if theres any sites that carry those. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Dave
3 weeks ago.
My diopter calculates to -2.5 OD and -4.0 OS. You mentioned in other comments that one option is 2 pairs and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. Can eye pieces be interchanged with any of the prescription swim goggles?
Marshniel
2 weeks ago.
Hi Dave,

As long as the nose piece pops off (which most goggles have) you can interchange the eye pieces. Feel free to contact us with any other questions you may have. Have a great day!
Naveen
3 weeks ago.
Hi Sir/Mam,

I am starting my swimming session from this week and need prescribed googles. My presciped glass details are below, since I have axis in that i am not sure about how to calculate this diopter for buying googles.

Kindly help,

Right Eye: SPH -2.5, CYL -0.5, axis 60
Left Eye : SPH -2.25, CYL -0.25, axis 180.

Thank You Very Much.
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Naveen,

Your diopter strength would be -2.75 & -2.37. You do not need to use the Axis value. You can go with either one pair at -2.0 or 2 pairs (one in -2.0 and one in -2.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
DEVENDER SINGH
3 weeks ago.
Hi, Please help me calculate the proper strength for swim goggles.
My prescription reads:
RT EYE SPH -4.50 CYL - 0.75 AND 55 DEGREE
LT EYE SPH - 0.75

Thanks for your help
DR DEVENDER
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Devender,

The diopter strength for your right eye is -4.8. You will have to contact your optometrist for your left eye since there is no cylinder value. They can calculate it for you. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Omen Jain
4 weeks ago.
I have for right eye -1.75 Sph, and Left -2.25 SPh. My prescription does say anything about Cyl. What will be my number?
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Omen,

Since your prescription doesnt have a cylinder value, I would suggest contacting your optometrist for the diopter strength. They usually can help you out with that. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
George
4 weeks ago.
Hello, I went to the beach yesterday..and while fun.. boy was it a hassle not wearing my glasses in the water. Me and contacts have never gotten along. Then I found this website. Here is my prescription, please tell me what would be the correct prescription to get my goggles in.

Thank you!

O.D. SPH -200 CYL -0.50 AXIS 008

O.S. SPH -200 CYL DS
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi George,

We would be happy to assist you! For your OD it would be -2.25. But we're not sure about your OS since the cylinder value has letters instead of numbers. You would want to check with your optometrist in this case. They can get you your diopter strength as well. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Kelley
4 weeks ago.
My daughter wears bifocals:

Right: +2.5 sph, -1.00 Cyl, 2 axis
Left: +2.5 sph, -0.5 Cyl, 175 axis

NV - ADD: +3.00

Would you get +3.0?
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Kelley,

Our prescription goggles do not come in bifocals. Her diopter strength would be +2 & +2.25. The only positive diopter strength goggle we carry can be found in the link below. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Kelley,

We do not carry bifocals but her diopter strength would be +2 & +2.25. The only positive diopter strength goggle we have can be found in the link below. 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
May
4 weeks ago.
Copied straight from my prescription, mine is
O.D. -1.00 -0.50 x120
O.S. -1.25 -0.50 x55
So I dont know which is right or left... but I'm guessing I need -1.25 or -1.5?
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi May,

Your calculations are correct! O.S. is the left eye and O.D. is the right eye. Now with your prescription being so low, you may be able to get away with just regular goggles. Our prescription goggles go as low as -2.0. You may want to try a Google search to see if you can find a pair that is made in lower prescription. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful day!
Alan
4 weeks ago.
Please help...

OD: -1.75/-1.25 x 151
OS:-3.50/-075x21
SwimOutlet
4 weeks ago.
Hi Alan,

Your diopter Im assuming since the cylinder and sphere values are not clearly noted will be -2.3 & -3.8. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Ruslana
4 weeks ago.
Hello,

Please help me with the calculation:

Right eye: -5.5 sphere, -0.75 cylinder
Left eye: -5.25 sphere, -1.5 cylinder

Thank you.
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Ruslana,

Your diopter strength would be -5.8 and -6.0. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Greg
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
4 weeks 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
1 month 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
5 weeks 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
1 month 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
1 month 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
1 month 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 month 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!
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