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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.

  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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Jamie
2 days ago.
Hi,

Would I be right in thinking my prescription would be the following:

L: -4.50
R: -4.50

Given my current prescription is:

L: Sph = -4.50 / Cyl = -0.25
R: Sph = -4.25 / Cyl = -0.50

Cheers,

Jamie
Swimoutlet.com
2 days ago.
Hi Jamie,

You are absolutely correct! A -4.5 pair should be perfect for you. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Nitin
4 days ago.
Could you help me with my prescription?

Right Eye
SPH: -7.25 CYL: -0.50 AXIS 20

Left Eye
SPH: -7.50 CYL: -0.75 AXIS 170

Thanks in advance.
SwimOutlet.com
4 days ago.
Hi Nitin,

It looks like your diopter strength will be Right: -7.5 Left: -7.8. You should be good with one pair at -7.5. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Zohair
5 days ago.
Hello,

My daughter is short sighted
Right eye -8.50 / -1.25 x 20
Left eye -6.75 // -3.00 x 175
What do you recommend I get?

Your help is appreciated, many thanks

Zohair
Swimoutlet.com
4 days ago.
Hi Zohair,

Her diopter strength would be Right: -9.1 Left: -8.2. You can get either one pair at -8 or 2 pairs (one in -8 and one in -9) 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!
Deanna
2 weeks ago.
Could you please help me with my husbands prescription?
OD sphere -7.25 cylinder -250 axis 004
OD sphere -7.00 cylinder -175 axis 009
Would the Speedo Vanquisher be a good choice for recreational swimming with this prescription?
Thank you so much.
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Deanna,

His diopter strength would be OD: -8.5 OS: -7.8. Speedo's are one of our most popular and highly liked brand so it would be a great pair for him. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Anne
2 weeks ago.
Hi, thank you so much. My daughter's scrip is
OD Spherical = -3.00 and OD cylindrical =0
OS Spherical = -3.00 and OD cylindrical = -0.50
and her OD axis is blank and her OS axis is 180

and do you also do dive masks?
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Anne,

Your daughter's diopter strength would be OD: Check with your optometrist on that one. OS: -3.25. The axis is not used in the calculation so you're good on that. We do not carry prescription dive masks. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
george
2 weeks ago.
right eye sphere -2.75 cylinder -0.50 axis 015 left eye sphere -2.75 cylinder -1.25 axis 165.what kind of goggles will my daughter need.thank you for your help
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi George,

Her diopter would be right eye: -3 left eye: -3.3. She would need to get a pair of goggles with a -3 prescription. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
ALAN
3 weeks ago.
My prescription:
OD sphere -7.25 Cylinder -1.00 Axis 145
OS sphere -6.50 Cylinder -3.50 Axis 010
Can you Please calculate for me? and Does AXIS really matter? How do you calculate about that? Thank you very much!
Swimoulet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Alan,

Your diopter strength would be OD: -7.75 OS: -8.25. The axis doesn't matter when calculating the diopter strength. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
W.Ferguson
3 weeks ago.
What would mine be
+100 -170 x 105
+.50-.50 x 65

+1.75 -1.75 X105
+1.25 -.50 X 65
Deseri
4 weeks ago.
what would I get for my son who is
-0.75 sphere -0.25 Cylinder on the OD side
-1.50 sphere -0.75 Cylinder on the OS side
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Deseri,

Your son's diopter strength would be OD: -0.875 OS: -1.8. Since his prescription is so low, he may be able to get away with just regular non prescription goggles. If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful day!
liz
4 weeks ago.
If my prescription is -2.75 SPH in both eyes and 0 CLY in both eyes, what would my diopter strength be?
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Liz,

If your cylinder value is 0 then your diopter will be -2.75 according to the formula above. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Rachel Carter
4 weeks ago.
My prescription says
Right +450, -025, 90 Sphere/Cylinder/axis
Left +450, (BAL), Sphere/cylinder
Can you help me decipher this for prescription goggles

Thank you!
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Rachel,

For your right it looks like your diopter would be +4.3 and as for your Left eye, you would have to contact your optometrist as it looks like there's only one value. If you have any other questions, please let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Carrie
4 weeks ago.
Just trying to see if I can get goggles and I can't seem to figure out the diopeter using your formula:

-300-075x007, +175, 20/20+

help!
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Carrie,

Since you do not have your spherical and cylinder value clearly stated, I would recommend that you contact your optometrist to get that. They can just calculate it over the phone for you. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
X2Edison
4 weeks ago.
My Daughter's prescription is
+050 -300 x 002
+125 -300 x 170

Can you please let me know what kind of google she need.

Thanks in advance
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi there,

Since your daughter's prescription is not clearly marked with the spherical and cylinder values, I would recommend that you contact her optometrist to get her diopter measurement. They can calculate over the phone for you. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Kiran
1 month ago.
This is my prescription:-

sph cyl axis
R -3.75 -1.5 X5.0
L -3.5 -1.25 X180

Am I right to say I should buy a right of -4.5 (-4.5) and a left of -4 (-4.125)

Can I just buy off the shelves considering my astigmatism as I wont be wearing more than 1hr.

Thanks
SwimOutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Kiran,

Your calculations are absolutely correct! The goggles that we carry are normal ones and do not correct astigmatism. It will be up to your preference on whether you're okay without your astigmatism being corrected. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Nick P
1 month ago.
My vision is 300, 275. THAT IS ALL I KNOW (I cant see distance for ****), what should I get?
SwimOutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Nick,

Since you do not have a clear Spherical and cylinder value, I would recommend that you contact your optometrist. The nurses can easily give you the diopter strength over the phone. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Brandi
1 month ago.
My son has a severe astigmatism and is only 9 so contacts aren't an option. We have struggled to find a pair of prescription goggles that don't just deal with near/far sighted but also the astigmatism. Any suggestions for a brand that does both? We tried a pair from a Chineese manufacturer but they come off every time he dives in the pool...
SwimOutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Brandi,

We do not have any prescription goggles that correct astigmatism. You may have to get that professionally made. The prescription goggles that we carry are basic ones. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Mittie
1 month ago.
Hello,
Can you make this prescription? It is for a 15 year old boy.

RT: Sphere -10.25 Cylinder -0.50 Axis 035
LT: Sphere -10.75 Cylinder -0.50 Axis 002
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Mittie,

His diopter strength would be RT: -10.50 LT: -11. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Sarah G
1 month ago.
I came up with a diopter of -3.375 for my left eye, when ordering should I go with a -3?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Sarah,

You are absolutely correct! You would want to go with a -3 pair. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Nicole
1 month ago.
Can you please help me? My sons prescription is
OD +4.50 -1.00
OS +3.25 -1.00
Nicole
1 month ago.
Hi my sons prescription is OD Sphere +4.50 Cylinder-1.00 OS +3.25 -1.00
Can you help me with this please.
Nayeli Castillo
1 month ago.
Can you please help me

Right eye: sphere= -3.25 cylinder= -3.50
Left eye: sphere= -3.25 cylinder= -1.50

Thanks in advance.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Nayeli,

Your diopter strength is Right: -5 Left: -4. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you need anymore help. Have a great day!
Patricia
1 month ago.
Can you please help me with my prescription? I was looking for Aqua sphere Eagles. My prescription reads: (O.D -5.50 / cylindrical -0.50 / axis 145) and (O.S. -4.75/ cylindrical -1.00/ axis 30) ) Thanks for the help!
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Patricia,

Your diopter strength would be OD: -5.7 OS: -5.2. Below is a link to the Aqua Sphere Eagles lens. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/aqua-sphere-eagle-diopter-lens-10229/
Bruna
1 month ago.
Hey!

Could you please help me calculate my diopter?
Right eye: +10.5 sphere, -4.5 Cylinder, 110 axis
Left eye: +12 sphere, -5.50 Cylinder, 60 axis

Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Bruna,

Sure! Your diopter strength is R: +8.2 L: +9.2. Below is a link to the only positive prescription goggles that we carry. If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=28904
Harry
1 month ago.
Hi,
What will be my diopter strength.
Right: Sphere -.6.75 Cyl: +1.00 Axis 90
Left: Sphere - 7.25, Cyl: + 1.00 Axis 70.
Thanks in advance.
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Harry,

Your diopter strength would be Right: -6.2 Left: -6.7. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Christie
1 month ago.
Is the diopter strength the same as the number under the "D" on my contact lens boxes? In my case it's -2.50 for the left eye and -2.75 for the right eye. Does that "D" stand for diopter strength or do I need to call my eye doctor, get the actual prescription for my glasses and do the calculations?
SwimOutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Christie,

It sounds like that would be the correct number but we're not 100% sure. I would suggest that you contact your optometrist to confirm. They should be able to easily calculate your diopter over the phone. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
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