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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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JAN
2 days ago.
Hi,I have a prescription of
OD sphere: -8.25 Cyl +0.50 Axis 092
OS sphere: -8.00 Cyl +1 Axis 096
If I did my math right my diopter strength is Right: -8.0 and Left: -7.5. I should go with 2 pairs (one in -8.0 and one in -7.5) and interchange the lenses for 2 custom pairs. But when I look to buy a -7.5 strength goggle, you did not have any. Should I just stay with one pair in -8.0 or should I buy -7.0 strength goggle in place of the -7.5 goggle?
swimoutlet.com
1 day ago.
Hi Jan,
I would recommend going with the -7.0 in substitute of the -7.5 so you don't strain your eye. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Devin
3 days ago.
Hi
OD. -5.50+1.25x171
OS -4.50+0.50x020
Add +2.75OU
Can you help me decide in diopter strength?

Thanks
Aaron
4 days ago.
Hi,
I have a prescription of
OD sphere: -3.50 Cyl -0.75 Axis 032
OS sphere: -2.75 Cyl -1 Axis 158
I'm looking for general use goggles for swimming in rivers, pools, etc. What is my ideal prescription, & do I need to get 2 pairs and switch out the lenses, or can I get away with one pair averaged between the 2 different prescriptions? If I do need to get 2 pairs to switch out lenses, what's a good model of goggle for this?
Thanks,

Aaron
swimoutlet.com
3 days ago.
Hi Aaron,
Your diopter strength is OD: -3.875 and OS: -3.25. You should go with 2 pairs ( one in -3.5 and one in -3.0) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Please see the link below for recommendation and let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!


http://www.swimoutlet.com/searchresults.asp?Search=sporti+prescription+goggle&checkRealSearchInput=Y
Krista
5 days ago.
Hello I am interested in purchasing prescription googles for my daughter. Her prescription reads O.S. -3.25 sph, the O.D. has no prescription as she can not see out of that eye so if I need prescription in both is fine; there is no cylinder on her prescription. Should she get a Diopter lens at -3.0 or -3.5. Thank you for your help.
swimoutlet.com
4 days ago.
Hi Krista,
You should go with one pair at -3.0. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Anel
5 days ago.
Hello,
I was hoping for some advice to determine my strength for swim goggles

Right Eye: sphere is -2.75 and CYL is -1.25
Left Eye: Sphere is -2.25 and CYL is -1.25
I wasn't sure if I should round down or keep it exact.

Thank you!
swimoutlet.com
4 days ago.
Hi Anel,
Your diopter strength is Right: -3.375 and Left: -2.875. It is better to round down so you do not strain your eyes. You should go with 1 pair at -3.0. Please let us know if you have any further questions. Have a great day!
Heather
5 days ago.
I'm looking for googles.
OD -2.75;-0.5 010
OS -3.00; -0.75 135

What should I get?
swimoutlet.com
5 days ago.
Hi Heather,
Your diopter strength is OD: -3.0 and OS: -3.375. You should go with 1 pair at -3.0. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Ed
1 week ago.
Please advise:
regular script is Right SPH +0.50/CYL -3.00 Axis 085 and Left SPH -0.25/CYL -2.00 Axis 080

computer script is Right: SPH +1.75/ CYL -3.00 Axis 085 and Left SPH, +1.00/CYL -2.00 Axis 080.

Thanks
swimoutlet.com
5 days ago.
Hi Ed,
Your diopter strength is Right: -1.0 and Left: -1.25. At this time we do not have any goggles that match your prescription since prescription goggles start at -1.5. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Pat
2 weeks ago.
Right: sphere -3.75; cylinder +4; axis 103 degrees
Left: sphere -3.25; cylinder +3.5; axis 120 degrees

Can you suggest what prescription goggles might be best for a smaller woman? Happy to buy 2 pairs and switch out the lenses. Thanks
swimoutlet.com
5 days ago.
Hi Pat,
Your diopter strength is Right: -1.75 and Left: -1.5, You should go with 1 pair at -1.5. I would suggest going with the Speedo Vanquisher Optical Goggle. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Cathi
2 weeks ago.
I am trying to get goggles for my daughter. The prescription reads
OD. -1.00-0.5x170
OS -1.50-0.5x022

If I did the calculations correctly I came to -4.0. Is that correct?
Fahad Albarrak
2 weeks ago.
Can you please help me find out my diopter strength?

Left: SPH: -7.0, CYL: -1.25, AXIS: 170.0
Right: SPH: -6.75, CYL: -1.0, AXIS: 5.0
swimoutlet.com
5 days ago.
Hi Fahad,
Your diopter strength is Left: -7.625 and Right: -7.25. You should go with 2 pairs ( one in -7.0 and one in 7.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Rahul
2 weeks ago.
My current prescription is as follows:
Right eye: Spherical: -2.00, Cylindrical: -0.25
Left eye: Spherical: -1.75, Cylindrical: -0.50

What diopter strength do I need? Also, can you recommend me a good reasonably priced brand?
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Rahul,
Your diopter strength is Right eye -2.125 and Left eye -2.0. You should be good with a pair at -2.0. I would recommend the Sporti Antifog goggles. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Rick
2 weeks ago.
Looking for a pair of good goggles for a competitive swimmer with a prescription of:

OD Sphere -1.5 Cylinder -0.5
OS Sphere -1.5 Cylinder -0.5

What are your recommendations?
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Rick,
Your diopter strength is OD: -1.75 and OS: -1.75. You should be good with 1 pair at -1.5. The Speedo Vanquisher Optical Goggle sounds like it may be a good fit for you. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Velocity
2 weeks ago.
I'm looking to get my dad prescription goggles for his birthday. Is there any way to at least guess what to get him without asking his prescription? I asked him before when I still wasn't sure what to get him and he didn't know.

I, myself, wear -4.00 goggles and I'm pretty sure he's not far off, but I'm not sure which way.

Help?
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Velocity,
Unfortunately, we cannot calculate the diopter strength for your dad without his actual prescription. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Dee
3 weeks ago.
Hello I am interested in purchasing prescription googles for my daughter. She does competitive swimming and her prescription reads: re sphere -4.0 and le sphere -3.75. What should I for when ordering? Diopter lens number should be what? Thanks for your help
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Dee,
Assuming there is no cylinder, the diopter strength would be R: -4.0 and L:-3.75. You should go with 2 pairs (one in -4.0 and one in -3.5) and interchange the lenses for 2 custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Riki
3 weeks ago.
My daughter needs a +4 prescription goggle. What brands offer positive diopter? We have tried the Sporti positive optical goggle, but the nose piece does not fit properly and cut her nose.
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Riki,
I'm sorry to hear that the Sporti positive optical goggles did not work for your daughter. Did you try switching the nose piece for a more customized fit? At this time, these are the only goggles that offer positive prescriptions. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Riki
3 weeks ago.
You asked about switching the nose piece.... Should this product have come with more than one nose piece? We received the goggles with one standard, adjustable nose piece.
Pterodactyl
3 weeks ago.
I just ordered a pair of Sable Water Optics Goggles in -2.5 strength for both eyes and I would like to know if I should have ordered -2.5 left and -3.0 right.

My glasses prescription is:
Right: -2.75 Sphere, -0.75 Cylinder, 172 axis
Left: -2.75

My doc says my astigmatism is quite slight and doesn’t need correction for basic contacts because I don’t wear them often.

Would you suggest I keep the goggles at -2.5 each eye or change my order to adjust for the astigmatism to -3.0 in the right eye?

This will be my first pair of prescription goggles and I plan to use them in ocean swimming where there are some bigger waves.

Thanks!!
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Pterodactyl,
Since your diopter strength is Right: -3.125 and Left: -2.75, You should go with 2 pairs (one in -3.0 and one in -2.5) and interchange the lenses for 2 custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
RM
3 weeks ago.
Hi,
I ordered googles from you all for my daughter (quick shipping!!!) and she said she can't really see. Her prescription is:
OD -4.25 SPH
OS -4.00 .050 x 160

We purchased +4.00. Should we return for a different strength?

Thank you.
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi RM,
Your daughter's diopter strength is OD: -4.25 and OS: -3.75. You should have purchased a pair in -4.0. Please let us know if you have any further questions. Have a great day!
OGue
3 weeks ago.
I need help in ordering prescription goggles.
My prescription is -
Right- SPHERE +1.0, CYL -3.25, AXIS 177
Left - SPHERE +1.0, CYL -5.25, AXIS 180
Thank you!
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi OGue,
Your diopter strength is Right: -0.625 and Left: 1.625. Unfortunately, negative prescription goggles start at -1.5. You can try purchasing a pair at -1.5, but it may strain your Right eye. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Audrey
3 weeks ago.
Hello! Would you please help me with my RX?

Right
Sphere -8.75
Cylinder -0.570
Axis 040
Add 1.25

Left
Sphere -8.50
Cylinder -1.00
Axis 165
Add 1.25

Thank you! Looking forward to swimming again soon.
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Audrey,
Your diopter strength is Right: -8.0 and Left: -7.75. You should go with 2 pairs (one in -8.0 and one in -7.5) and interchange the lenses for 2 custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Mahmoud
3 weeks ago.
My right eye:
Sphere:11.5 Cylinder:2
My Left eye:
Sphere:10.5 Cylinder:3

What is your advice for my goggle???
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Mahmoud,
Your diopter strength is Right Eye: +13.5 and Left Eye: +12.0. Unfortunately, we do not have any positive prescription goggles that match your prescription. I do apologize for any inconvenience. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Chris
3 weeks ago.
Please advise on what prescription to get based on my current prescription:
OD: Sphere: -1.75, Cyl: -0.75, Axis: 095
OS: Sphere: -2.25, Cyl: -0.50, Axis: 065
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Chris,
Your diopter strength is OD: -2.125 and OS: -2.5. You should go with 2 pairs (one in -2.0 and one in -2.5) and interchange the lenses for 2 custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Dan
3 weeks ago.
I need help calculating please.

My prescription is:
OD -6.00 DS
OS -4.50-0.75 X 180
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Dan,
Your diopter strength is OD: -6.0 and OS: -4.875. You should go with 2 pairs (one in -6.0 and one in -4.5) and interchange the lenses for 2 custom pairs. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Dev
3 weeks ago.
Hi. Please help me. I don't have my glasses prescription in hand, but my contact presciption is the the following: Cylinder: -0.75 and Sphere -5.5 for both eyes. Which strength googles do I need? Thank you for your help!
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Dev,
Unfortunately, since the two prescriptions differ, the glasses prescription is needed in order for us to calculate your diopter strength. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Sardana
3 weeks ago.
My 9 years old daughter has Astigmatism. Her prescription is below.. Right eye Spherical - 0.50 , Cyl + 1.75 , Axis = 85 . Left eye Spherical ----- , Cyl + 1.25 , Axis = 90. I need swimming goggles for her.....is it a possiblity in her case. Thnx.
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Sardana,
Unfortunately, we do not carry any prescription goggles that would work for your daughter's prescription. I do apologize for any inconvenience. Please let us know if you have any further questions. Have a great day!
LaTonya Newsome
3 weeks ago.
Hello. my script is :
od) Sph. -5.50 Cyl. -.75 axis 175
os) Sph -5.25 Cyl -.75 axis 175

Can you help me. my calculations are not coming up properly.

Thank you
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi LaTonya,
Your diopter strength is OD: -5.875 and OS: -5.625. You should be good with 1 pair at -5.5. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
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