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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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Brandi
1 day 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
6 minutes 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
2 days 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
9 minutes 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
6 days ago.
I came up with a diopter of -3.375 for my left eye, when ordering should I go with a -3?
Swimoutlet.com
6 days 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 week ago.
Can you please help me? My sons prescription is
OD +4.50 -1.00
OS +3.25 -1.00
Nicole
1 week 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
2 weeks 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 week 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
2 weeks 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 week 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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!
Amy
2 weeks ago.
My son is a competition swimmer. I wants to order him some goggles. His prescription is as follows:
OD sphere +4.75 cyl -1.75 axis 180
OS sphere +4.25 cyl -1.00 axis 180

Could you help me with buying the right goggles? He wears the adult speedo vanquisher , no prescription, right now

Thanks!
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Amy,

His diopter strength would be OD; +3.8 OS; +3.7. Below is the link to the positive diopter pair that we have. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us again. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=28904
vishal
2 weeks ago.
Could you please help me to choose the right prescription goggle?

Child 1
OD: -2.25, +4.25 x 90
OS: -2.75, +4.25 x 90

Child 2
OD: -1.50, -3.5 x 95
OS: -1.00, -3.75 x 85

thanks
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Vishal,

Since your sphere and cylinder values are not clearly marked, I'm assuming you have those in the right order. Their diopter strengths would be as follows:

Child 1: OD -0.125 OS -0.625. Since this is between +1 and -1, their prescription is not that strong and they should be able to get away with just regular nonprescription goggles.

Child 2: OD -3.25 OS -2.87 You can either got with just one pair at -2.5 or 2 pairs (one in -2.5 and one in -3.0) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. I hope this info is helpful. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Shawna
3 weeks ago.
Hello, I priced prescription goggles at the eye Dr and they were going to be 297.00!!!! I about fell out of my chair;) My 12 year old daughter has really bad eyes. She can not see with out her glasses. She has joined the swim team . She has contacts but because her script is so strong she does not like wearing them because she cant see as well. How can I figure her script swim goggles? Her Script for her glasses is:
OD (SPH +6.25) ( CYL + 1.00) ( AXIS 090)
OS ( SPH +6.25) ( CYL +1.00) ( AXIS 085)
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me:)
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Shawna,

Her diopter strength is OD: +6.75 OS: +6.75. Since her prescription is positive, she would need a positive prescription pair of goggles. We do not carry too many. Below is a link to the positive ones that we do have. I hope this 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=28904
Khalil
3 weeks ago.
Could you please help me with mine?
OD Sphere = -550 Cylinder = -075
OS Sphere = -600 Cylinder = -075
Would greatly appreciate it
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Khalil,

Your diopter strength would be OD: -5.8 OS: -6.3. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
JFo
3 weeks ago.
Having trouble figuring the conversion.
Sphere Cylinder Axis
OD -175 -050 175
OS -200 DS

Any help appreciated so I can order and get swimming!!
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi JFo,

Your diopter strength would be OD -2 You may want to check in with your optometrist regarding your OS since you do not have a cylinder value. Feel free to contact us again if you have any questions. Have a great day!
JFo
3 weeks ago.
Thanks much!!
Ted
3 weeks ago.
Hi,

Can you make this prescription?

OD +1.75 -5.75 X 105
OS +1.75 -5.75 X 80
+2.00 ADD
PD 61/59

Thanks,

Ted
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Ted,

Your diopter strength would be OD: -1.1 OS: -1.1 Since your strength is so low, you probably would be okay with regular nonprescription goggles. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
anita
3 weeks ago.
I am writing again in the event I did not do this correctly the first time. You have helped me greatly with my prescription goggles and now my son wants a pair also
His prescription is as follow-1.25 sphere -075 cylinder,axis88
and -1.25 sphere and -0.75 cylinder, axis100
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Anita,

Glad to hear that we were able to help you! Your son's diopter strength is: -1.6. You would want to go with a pair at -1.5. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Lisa
3 weeks ago.
Could you please help me figure out what swim goggles to buy?
Right: sphere: -2 cyl: -1 axis: 60
Left: sphere: -2.5 cyl: -.75 axis: 60
Do you have enough info?
Thanks!
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Lisa,

Sure! Your diopter strength would be R: -2.5 L: -2.8. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Arlene Seckel
3 weeks ago.
All the calculations I have seen the sphere was negative and mine is positive.

Here are my numbers:
OD sphere +3.25 Cyl +1.25 Axis 17
OS sphere +3.5 Cyl +1.00 Axis 177
Thank you
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Arlene,

Thats okay! That just means youre far sighted and cannot see things clearly up close. Normally prescription goggles come in negative strengths for near sighted people so they can see the time clock or their coach while swimming. We do have a pair that comes in positive. Below is a link. Your diopter strength is OD: +3.8 OS: +4. 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=28904
Michael
3 weeks ago.
Here is my presc.
Sph/ Cyl/ Axis
R: -2.25 / -3.25 / 97
L: -2.75 /-3.5 / 75
Which should I order, and what strength.
Thanks in advance.
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Michael,

Your diopter strength is R: -3.8 L: -4.5. You can either go with one pair at -3.5 or 2 pairs (one in -3.5 and one in -4.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Racheleona
3 weeks ago.
My sphere is -1.25 for both eyes. Cylinder is -0.25 for both eyes. My diopter strength = -1.376.

I CANT FIND A GOGGLE MATCHING -1.4
HELP SOON AND FAST!!!!!
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Racheleona,

Since your diopter strength is inbetween, you would want to go with a -1.0. We unfortunately do not carry any prescription goggles between 0 and -1.5 because the prescription is so low that you can get away with using regular nonprescription goggles. I hope this information is helpful. Have a great day!
Danielle
4 weeks ago.
Hello,

My prescription is OD:-2.25 and OS: -2.50. Both are for Sphere the cylinder and axis section has a line drawn through it. Hope this is enough to help you figure out which goggles I should purchase.
Thanks!
Danielle
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Danielle,

Since your prescription doesnt match up exactly to the formula I do recommend that you contact your optometrist to get the diopter strength. They can easily calculate it over the phone for you. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Lara
4 weeks ago.
I also need help for my 11 year son with goggle conversion
Left eye: -4 and -2
Right eye: -3 and -150
Thank you so much
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Lara,

Since you do not have your sphere and cylinder value clearly marked, I'm assuming the first set is the sphere and the 2nd set is the cylinder. Then his diopter strength would be L: -5 and R: -3.7. Please do confirm with your optometrist as well. If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
AD
4 weeks ago.
Hi can you please tell me what my diopter strength for both eyes please

Left eye: PWR: -5.25 CYL: -1.25 AXIS: 180
Right eye: -5.50 CYL - 1.25 AXIS: 180

thank you
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi AD,

Your diopter strength is L: -5.8 R: -6.1. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Happy Holidays!
Marilyn
4 weeks ago.
Hello and thank you in advance for helping me. My prescription is:
OD Sphere -4.25
OS Sphere -4.00 Cylinder -0.25 Axis 112 (This is for distance, apparently)

Then, for near, there is a +2.50 in the block (For both, I guess). If you could tell me what to order, I'd appreciate it.

I've bought mens swim suits for my hubby from SwimOutlet and will be buying me a couple since the quality is excellent. Thanks again!!
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Marilyn,

Since your OD doesnt have a cylinder value, I would recommend that you contact your optometrist. The nurses can easily calculate your prescription over the phone. For OS: -4.1. We're happy to hear that you like our suits! Happy Holidays!
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