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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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Mandy
2 days ago.
Hi, can you help me with mine? Thanks!

OD: Sphere -6.00, cylinder -1.00, axis 20
OS: Sphere -5.25, cylinder -1.75, axis 169
Christy
3 days ago.
I need help picking out prescription swim goggles.
My OD: -4.75 + 3.75 x 010
My OS: -3.75 + 3.00 x 155
What do I order for prescription goggles?
Thank you.
melissa
3 days ago.
I LOVE my perscription googles, ive share my love and now need help with other family members so i can order them correctly.
Layla: OD Sphere:+6.00 Cyl: -3.00 Axis 175
OS Sphere:+6.00 Cyl:-3.00 Axis 180

John: OD Sphere: -0.75 Cyl:-1.00 Axis 120
OS Sphere:-1.00 Cyl:-1.25 Axis 55
Suzy
3 days ago.
i need to order 2 pairs of optical swim goggles:

first pair:
od: sphere -2.00 cylinder -0.50
os: sphere -2.50 cylinder -1.50

2nd pair:
od: sphere -0.25 cylinder -0.75
os: sphere -1.00 cylinder -0.50

please advise diopter for ordering. Thank you
Jason
5 days ago.
Hi there, please can you tell me what strength goggles i need, my prescription is:
Right eye: SPH: -4.50 CYL: -1.50 AXIS: 5.0
Left eye: SPH: -5.75 No CYL or AXIS
Bel
6 days ago.
Hello, I need advice for selecting swim goggles for my daughter please:
O.D: SPH -3.25 CYL -0.25 AXIS 035
O.S: SPH -4.00 CYL OS
P.D. Distance 51

Thank you in advance!
SwimOutlet.com
2 days ago.
Hi Bel,
Her diopter strength would be OD -3.375 OS -4. You can either go with one pair at -3.0 or 2 pairs (one in -3.0 and one in -4) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
Trae
2 weeks ago.
Can you verify mine and recommend goggles?

OD: sph -3.50 / cyl +1.25 = diopter 4.125
OS: sph -2.25 / cyl +1.25 = diopter 2.875
Swimoutlet.com
3 days ago.
Hi Trae,
Your diopter strength is OD: -2.875 and OS: -1.625. You should go with 2 pairs (one at -2.5 and one in -1.5) and interchange the eye pieces. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

Please see link below for recommended goggles:
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-vanquisher-optical-goggle-7789/?color=208
Marnie
2 weeks ago.
I surely need your assistance in order to purchase prescription goggles.
OD: Sphere -4.00 Cylinder +2.00 Axis 005 Add +2.50
OS: Sphere -3.00 Cylinder +1.25 Axis 175 Add +2.50

Thanks in advance.
Swimoutlet.com
3 days ago.
Hi Marnie,
Your diopter strength is OD: -3.0 and OS: -2.375. You should go with 2 pairs (one at -3.0 and one in -2.0) and interchange the eye pieces. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Alicia Stone
2 weeks ago.
Here is the prescription OD: Sphere +6.5, Cylinder -1.5, Axis 006 and OS: Sphere +6.00, Cylinder -1.5, Axis 175. Could you tell me what I should order for an 8 year old girl for recreational swimming.
Swimoutlet.com
3 days ago.
Hi Alicia,
Your daughter's diopter strength is OD: 5.75 and OS: 5.25. You should go with 2 pairs (one at 5.5 and one in 5.0) and interchange the eye pieces. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!

Please see link below for recommended goggles:
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=28904
Sara
2 weeks ago.
Do you sell kids goggles that cover the nose?
SwimOutlet.com
3 days ago.
Hi Sara,
We do not have goggles that cover the nose but we do carry mask. Below is a link to those for kids
http://www.swimoutlet.com/searchresults.asp?Search=jr+masks&checkRealSearchInput=Y
If you have any questions please let us know. Have a great day!
Colton
2 weeks ago.
I need help calculating what to get. My prescription is below
OD: sphere: -2.75 cylinder: -1.50
OS: sphere: -3.50 cylinder: -0.75
SwimOutlet.com
3 days ago.
Hi Colton,
Your diopter strength is OD: -3.5 OS: -3.875. You should be good with one pair at -3.5. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a wonderful day!
David Gordon
2 weeks ago.
When looking at presecription I have readings for both distance and near. Whcih do you use?
ie right eye is:
sphere +6.25, cyl +1 for distance but +7.75 sphere, +1 cyl for near??

Not sure if t go for a 6, 7 or 8?
Swimoutlet.com
3 days ago.
Hi David,
I would assume you would want to use the distance one to see far. If thats the case then your diopter would be +6.5. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Aikta gupta
2 weeks ago.
My rt eye number is sph -5.5. Axis 180 degree and lt eye -3.5 sph no cylinder in any eye.what number swim glasses should I wear?
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Aikta,
Your diopter strength would be RT: -5.5 ; LT: -3.5. You should go with 2 pairs (one at -5.5 and one in -3.5) and interchange the eye pieces. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
lola
2 weeks ago.
Hello again,
My 9 years old daughter's prescription is below:
OD: Sphere = -6.75, Cyl = -0.50, Axis = 75
OS: Sphere = -7.00, Cyl = -0.25, Axis = 50
Please tell me what the diopter for each eye? I am looking for kid goggles.
Please direct me to the link.
Thank you
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Lola, Your daughter's diopter strength would be OD: -7.0; OS -7.125. You should be good with a pair at -7.0. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day! http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-jr-vanquisher-optical-goggle-5726/?color=26863
Jeanetta
2 weeks ago.
What should I order
OD + 6.50. Cylinder -1.25

OS +6.25 Cylinder-1.00

How much will they cost and what I stage tax and shipping
Thanking you in advance. I would like prescription swim goggles
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Jeanetta,
Your diopter strength is OD (+5.875) ; OS (+5.75). You should be good with a pair at +5.5. Let us know if you have any more questions. Have a great day!

Please see the link below for pricing.
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=28904
Richmond
2 weeks ago.
Hi Swimoutlet,

I got my eyesight prescription,
Right eye power : -375, astig: 075
Left eye power : -300, astig: 100

Kindly please advise on the calculation of the strength for goggles that I would need to look out for. Thanks in advance!
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Richmond,
Since you do not have your sphere and cylinder values noted, I would recommend that you contact your optometrist to get your diopter strength. They can easily calculate your diopter over the phone. And the prescriptions goggles that we carry do not correct any astigmatism. I hope this information is helpful. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Jose ordonez
3 weeks ago.
Hello, My 11years old daughter's prescription is below: OD: Sphere = -3.25 Cyl = -0.75 Axis = 167 OS: Sphere = -3.25 Cyl = -0.50 Axis = 180 Please tell me what the diopter for each eye? I am looking for kid goggles. Please direct me to the link. Thank you
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Jose,
Your daughter's diopter strength would be: OD (-3.625); OS (-3.5) You should be good with a pair at -3.5. Let us know if you have any more questions. Have a great day!
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-jr-vanquisher-optical-goggle-5726/?color=10807
Jose ordonez
3 weeks ago.
Hi! I too need help figuring out which prescription to buy. I have OD Sph -3.25 Cyl -0.75 OS Sph -3.25, Cyl -0.50 Please let me know the correct prescription. Thanks
kimyatta evans
3 weeks ago.
Hi. I need to purchase googles for my two kids.

My daughter's prescription
RT Sph -1.25, Cyl -0.50
LT Sph -1.25, Cyl -0.50

My son's prescription
RT Sph -.275, Cyl -2.75
LT Sph -2.75, Cyl -2.00

Please let me know the correct diopter strength to order for each of my kids. Thanks so much!
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Kimyatta,
For your daughter: RT (-1.5) LT (-1.5). You should go with a pair at -1.5
For your son: RT (-4.125) LT (-3.75). You should go with 2 pairs (one at -4.0 and one in -3.5) and interchange the lenses. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Holly
3 weeks ago.
I want to make sure I get this right for my child. Right Sphere -4.25 Cylinder -0.50 axis 081
Left Sphere -4.00 Cylinder -0.25 axis 146
Thank you for you help.
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Holly,
The diopter strength for the Right would be: -4.5 and for the Left: -4.125. You can either go with one pair at -4.0 or 2 pairs (one at -4.0 and one in -4.5) and interchange the lenses. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Holly
3 weeks ago.
Thank you very much for the quick response!
lola
3 weeks ago.
Hello,
My 9 years old daughter's prescription is below:

OD: Sphere = -6.75, Cyl = -0.50, Axis = 75
OS: Sphere = -7.00, Cyl = -0.25, Axis = 50

Please tell me what the diopter for each eye?
I am looking for kid goggles. Please direct me to the link.
Thank you
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Lola,
Your daughter's diopter strength would be OD: -7.0; OS -7.125. You should be good with a pair at -7.0. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-jr-vanquisher-optical-goggle-5726/?color=26863
kevin
3 weeks ago.
My son is a +8 in both eyes. we have ordered prescription swim goggles form you before, but I cant find them on your site now. Do you make them in this strength or at least close to it?
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Kevin,
Sorry, we do not have any goggles in +8 at this time. The only goggles that come in a positive prescription is the Sporti Antifog Positive Optical Goggle and goes up to +6. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Anthony
3 weeks ago.
Good morning, I was interested in getting my 11 year old son some prescription goggles but I want to make sure I order the correct strength. here are his measurements.... o.d.: spherical= +6.75. Cylindrical=sph.
o.s.: spherical=+5.75. cylindrical= -50. axis= 160. thanks
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Anthony,
His diopter strength would be OD: +6.75 OS: +5.50. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Sonia
3 weeks ago.
Hello,

I called my eye doctor and asked for my son's prescription over the phone. They gave me his diopter strength -2.25 for the right eye, and 2.50 for the left. Should I order a -2 pair goggle for him?
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Sonia,
You can either go with one pair at -2 or 2 pairs (one at -2.0 and one in -2.5) and interchange the eye pieces. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Billy Carter
3 weeks ago.
I can use some help in finding my diopter strength, right eye sph. +3.25 cyl. -150 axis 087; left eye sph. +3.00 cyl. -125 axis 092;
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