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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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vad
5 days ago.
My prescription is below

OD: Sphere = -7.25, Cyl = -0.75, Axis = 132
OS: Sphere = -5.25, Cyl = -0.75, Axis = 033

Please tell me what the diopter for each eye? Also Iam looking for Adult goggles. Please direct me to the link.
SwimOutlet.com
4 days ago.
Hi Vad,
Your diopter strength would be OD: -7.6 OS: -5.6. You can view our prescription goggles in the link below. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
http://www.swimoutlet.com/prescription-swim-goggles-c9623/
Erin
6 days ago.
Hi, I'm about to order some swim goggles for my son and came across this article. I want to make sure I get them right, his prescription is:
Right eye: SPH +2.50 CYL +2.25 AXIS 100
Left eye - SPH +2.50 CYL +3.25 AXIS 77

Thank you for this article!
SwimOutlet.com
4 days ago.
Hi Erin,
His diopter strength would be Right: +3.6 Left: +4.1. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
kitty
6 days ago.
What is the correct diopter strength, goggle model and also goggle size for my son. the My son is 12 years old, the purpose is for recreation swimming. Below is his prescription.

O.D. -1.75 , cylinder -3.25 , Axis 005
O.S. -3:00, cylinder 2.50, Axis 170.

Thank you.
SwimOutlet.com
6 days ago.
Hi Kitty,
His diopter strength would be OD: -3.37 OS: -1.75. You can either go with one pair at -1.5 or 2 pairs (one in -1.5 and one in -3) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
maya
6 days ago.
OD sph -3.25, cyl -0.25
OS sph -3.00, cyl 0.00

OD = (1/2x-0.25) + -3.25 = -3
OS = (1/2x-0.00) + -3.00 = -3

Is my calculation correct?
SwimOutlet.com
6 days ago.
Hi Maya,
Your calculation is absolutely correct. If you have any questions or need help please feel free to contact us again. Have a great day!
Wael Masri
2 weeks ago.
Hi. Thanks so much for your helpful replies here.
My prescription says:
OD: -2.25 SPH and -0.25 CYL (right should be -2.375)
OS: -2.75 SPH and -0.75 CYL (left should be -3.125)

So should I just get a pair that is -2.0 or should I round up to -2.50 ??
I'm an occasional recreational swimmer, both outdoor and indoors, so it need not be perfect. I suppose I could start with a -2.0 pair and later, if I find it be too weak, then order a stronger pair of -3.0 to create a custom pair for the right and left. What do you recommend?
SwimOutlet.com
6 days ago.
Hi Wael,
We do not recommend that you get a stronger pair than your prescription as that can hurt your eyes. It's like trying on someone else's glasses and getting a blurry vision because the prescription is too strong. You can go with -2 if going with one pair or -2 and -3 and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Collins Fav
2 weeks ago.
Hello..goggles are for my 4 yr old grandson..Do you recommend tinted goggles?.,His prescription is

D.V. O.D Sphere +4.00 Cylinder -1.00 axis 21
O.S. ". +4.00 ". -0.50 axis 155. Then underneath
ADD. O.D. Sphere +2.75
O.S. Sphere +2.75. Thank you for your help
SwimOutlet.com
6 days ago.
Hi Collins,
His diopter would be OD: +3.5 OS: +3.75. If he plans on swimming outdoors alot then tinted goggles would be for him. If he plans on swimming indoors then he would want to go with clear ones. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if theres anything else we can assist you with. Have a great day!
Mary
2 weeks ago.
I want to make sure I did the math correctly to determine which strength I should purchase. Current prescription shows......
OD Sphere +2.00 and Cylinder +1.00
OS Sphere +2.00 and Cylinder +2.75
My calculations show..... OD would be 2.5 and OS would be 3.38. Is this correct? My thought is to purchase two pair of goggles and swap lenses. For the OS, do you suggest 3.0 or 3.5?
Thank You!
SwimOutlet.com
6 days ago.
Hi Mary,
Your calculations are absolutely correct. OD: +2.5 OS: +3.38. For OS I would suggest going with +3 because you never want to go stronger than your prescription. I hope this is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Leanne Leon
2 weeks ago.
Hi, can you please help me choose which prescription goggles to order:
OD -5.25 +1.50 086
OS -4.50 +0.50 155
Swimoutlet.com
6 days ago.
Hi Leanne,
Your diopter strength would be OD: -4.5 OS: -4.25. You can either get one pair at -4 or 2 pairs (one in -4 and one in -4.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful day!
Josh
2 weeks ago.
Please let me know what strength I need. My prescription is:
OD -350 -150 x78
OS -425 -150 x 84

Thank you.
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Josh,
Your diopter strength is OD: -4.2 OS: -5. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Diwa
2 weeks ago.
My Prescription are as below:
Prescription Type Single Vision
(SPH) (CYL) Axis
OD-Right -3.00 +0.75 10
OS-Left -3.50 +0.25 5

PD 58

Can I have swim googles for the above prescription. And if you have, how much its gonna cost.

Thanks
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Diwa,
Your diopter strength would be Right: -2.6 Left: -3.3. You can either go with one pair at -2.5 or 2 pairs (one in -2.5 and one in -3) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. Below is a link to our prescription goggles. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
http://www.swimoutlet.com/prescription-swim-goggles-c9623/
Pam
2 weeks ago.
right eye: -325, -50, +165
left eye: -200, -50, +55
Could you please tell me what the diopter for each eye? Thanks
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Pam,
Your diopter strength would be Right: -3.5 Left: -2.25. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Kate
2 weeks ago.
Hi,

I just visited my optometrist today, and he said the conversions of my prescription would be -4 or -5. Looking at your formula I have no clue how he got that number and now I'm worried he was mistaken on the conversions. Please help!

OD -7.75 -1.25 x 175
OS -7.75 -2.00 x 004
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Kate,
I am not sure how you calculated your diopter to be -4 or -5. Going by the formula I calculated it to be OD: -8.3 OS: -8.75. You can ask your optometrist to see how he calculated it. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Carri
3 weeks ago.
My 4 year old daughter's prescription looks like this.

Right - Sphere: +6.5 Cylinder: it just says "Sphere"
Left - Sphere +7.5 Cylinder: it just says "Sphere"

Do you have goggles available for a little one with this prescription?

Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Carri,

If she doesnt have a cylinder value then her diopter strength would be the sphere value. So it would be Right: +6.5 and Left +7.5. Below is a link to our positive prescription goggles. 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
Felicia
3 weeks ago.
Hi

My degree is :

Right: 600
Left 525

I'm wearing contact lenses and which to purchase prescription goggle.
May i know what degree should i choose?


Thks
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Felicia,

Are those your spherical values? I would recommend that you contact your optometrist if you are not sure. They can easily contact your diopter strength over the phone. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Max
3 weeks ago.
What diopters do I need for my goggles?

OD -3.50 cylinder -1.75 axis 166
OS -3.50 cylinder -1.75 axis 016

Thanks for your help.
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Max,

Your diopter strength for both eyes is -4.3. Since your diopter falls inbetween, you will want to go with a -4.0 pair. Feel free to contact us with any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
shannon
3 weeks ago.
Sphere -0.75 Cylinder -0.75... would that be a diopter of -1.5?

Thank you.. math is certainly not my strong suit. :)
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Shannon,

No worries! The diopter strength would be -1.1. So you would want to go with a pair that is -1.0. With that low of a prescription, you may be able to get away with regular nonprescription goggles. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Meg
3 weeks ago.
Please help what prescription goggles to get.

Husband:
right eye -3.75
left eye -3.25

14 year old
right eye -.5 cyl -.25 axis 180
left eye - 1.5

11 year old
right eye -1.0
left eye -1.5


Thank you
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Meg,

I'm assuming the numbers you have are the diopter strengths? I am not sure if that is correct. Can you please verify. If it is their prescription then please let us know what their cylinder and sphere values are. Thank you!
Lori
4 weeks ago.
I am trying to order prescription goggles for my daughter. This is all so confusing and I am not finding anything in here that is helpful to me to figure this out! Her prescription reads:
O.D. -0.75-025x170
O.S. -0.75-025x020
What should I order? I am really frustrated that things aren't explained clearly.
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Lori,

i am sorry that you found calculating the diopter strength frustrating. If Im reading her prescription correctly (the cylinder and sphere is not clearly noted) then her diopter strength is OD and OS is -0.875. You may want to contact your optometrist to double check on her diopter. They should be able easily calculate it for you over the phone. If her diopter is -0.875, then its low enough to where she can get away with regular nonprescription goggles. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Mary
4 weeks ago.
Hi, my 3 year old son just got glasses, this is all new to me. His Rx is
OD cyl = +0.75, sphere = +2.5
OS cyl = +0.5, sphere = +4.5
If my calculations are correct, the diopters would be OD +2.875 and OS +5.0. Would my best option be to get two pairs, one at +2.5 and the other at +5.0 and switch them out to make two custom pairs? Do all the types allow that kind of switching (it would require flipping them top to bottom to get the "backwards" pair, correct)?
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Mary,

His diopter strength is OD +2.875 OS +4.75. So in this case you would want to with either one pair a +2.5 or 2 pairs (one in +2 and one in +4.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. You do not want to go up to a +5 as that would be stronger than your prescription and can hurt your eyes. We recommend that if you do choose to interchange the eye pieces that you get the same brand of goggles. Most of the ones that have a pop out nose piece can be interchanged. I hope this information if helpful. If you have any questions please let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Mary
3 weeks ago.
I messed up typing that in. Cylinder on his left eye is actually 1.0, half cylinder is 0.5. Add the 4.5 sphere to get 5.0. Sorry I miscommunicated! Thanks for the confirmation. :)
granny
4 weeks ago.
I feel like such a ditz, but my granddaughter's prescription seems different than the rest.....

Sphere OD +150 OS +175
Cylinder OD -375 OS -375

I want to make sure that I buy her the correct goggles. Will you please validate my calculations.
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi,

No worries! Can you please confirm the sphere and cylinder values first. Are the Sphere values the positive numbers? And the Cylinders the negative ones?
granny
4 weeks ago.
First Pair

Sphere OD -100 OS -225
Cylinder OD -225 OS -75

Second pair

Sphere OD +150 OS +175
Cylinder OD -375 OS -375
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Thank you for your reply! Your diopter strength are as follows:

First Pair: OD -2.1 OS -2.6

Second Pair: OD -0.3 OS -0.1

For the 2nd pair since the strength is so low, you can go with just a regular nonprescription pair of goggles. If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Susie
4 weeks ago.
When selecting a size for Swim goggles - there is NO size chart to reference.
How can I choose the correct size, do each of the sizes correspond to the size of your head?
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Susie,

Goggles actually do not come in different sizes besides being listed as womens, kids, and adults. Most goggles have adjustable straps. If you see a number listed as "Type" to select, you must be looking at the prescription goggles. The numbers listed on those are diopters. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Susie
4 weeks ago.
Recommendations for my two son please:

10yr old son:
OD: sph -3.50, cyl DS
OS: sph -3.25, cyl -0.50, Axls 170

11 yr old son
OD: sph -2.50, cyl DS
OS: sph -2.00, cyl -0.50, Axls 091
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Susie,

For your 10 yr old: OD & OS: -3.5. For your 11 yr old: OD: -2.5 OS: -2.25. If you have any other questions please let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Ryan
5 weeks ago.
My Right eye is S = -3.75 , C = -0.75 , AX = 18
left eye is, S = -4.00 , C = -0.50 , AX = 5

Does AX have anything to do with measuring the diopter? I calculated a rough -4.00 diopter. Can you confirm that?
Thanks
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Ryan,

You are absolutely correct! Your diopter strength will be rounded off to -4. The AX is not used in calculating diopters. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a great day!
Reema
1 month ago.
Hello, just wondering -when I go to pick my swimming goggles it asks me to pick a prescription number..you told me my diopeter strength is -3.6..but this number is not listen..what number would I pick?
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Reema,

If your diopter is -3.6 then you would want to go with a -3.5. The diopter strengths increase by increments of 0.5. You do not want to go with a higher strength than your prescription as that can be bad for your eyes. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us again. Have a wonderful day!
Rachel
1 month ago.
help me find my diopter strength.
OD= -2.75
OS= -2.75
my cylinder is 0 (on my glasses perscription it just says "sph" (sphere) meaning i have no astigmatism. what perscription googles would i get?
Swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Rachel,

If your cylinder value is 0 then your diopter strength would be the sphere value. So in your case it would be -2.75 for both eyes. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful day!
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