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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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Kim Fowler
2 weeks ago.
Hi, can you tell me what strength goggles I should buy for my daughter?
Her prescription reads as follows:

-1.00 Spherical -0.25 cylindrical 115 axis
-0.75 Spherical -0.25 cylindrical 071 axis

Thank you very much!
Noreen
2 weeks ago.
Hi, can u help me what is the best prescription goggle i should purchase for my son. He has a prescription of:

OD +4.00 -1.00 x 180
OS + 400 -1.00 x 180
PD 60

Thanks
Julie Little
2 weeks ago.
Hi! We need to purchase prescription swim goggles for my daughter. She is a competitive swimmer and will be joining the middle school swim team.

Her prescription is as follows:

OD SPH +5.50 CYL -1.00 AXIS 20
OS SPH +4.00 CYL -1.25 AXIS 170

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks,
Julie
connor
3 weeks ago.
Can you give me some advice for to determine which swim goggles are best

Right eye: sphere is -2.00 and cyl is -1.25
Left eye: sphere is -1.50 and cyl is -1.25
John
3 weeks ago.
Assistance with correct diopter strength, please. My prescription reads:

OD = PL, Cylinder = -100, Axis = 90, Add = +250
OS = +025, Cylinder = -100, Axis = 90, Add = +250

Thanks you!
fIA
3 weeks ago.
Assistance with correct diopter strength.
My prescription reads
OD - 2.00
OS - 1.50
ADD 2.50
PD: 66.0 R:33.5 L: 32.5

Appreciate the assistance! Thank you.
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Fia,
Your diopter strength is OD: -2.0 and OS: -1.50.I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -2.0 and one in -1.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. I would advise you to double check with your optometrist still. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Lynn
4 days ago.
How would I be able to interchange the lenses? Do I have to go in to have someone in optical sales do it or can I do this on my own?
Jill H.
3 weeks ago.
My 13 year old daughter needs some googles for recreational swimming and sports (soccer). Her script is:
OD sphere -2.75, cylinder -0.75
OS sphere -3.25, cylinder -1.00

What do you recommend? Thanks!
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Jill,
Your daughter's diopter strength is OD: -3.125 and OS: -3.75. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -3.0 and one in -3.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
priscilla
3 weeks ago.
Competitive swimmer for my daughter for prescription
OD: sphere -4.25 Cylinder -1.25
OS: sphere -3.25 cylinder -1.25
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Priscilla,
Your daughter's diopter strength is OD: -4.875 and OS: -3.875. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -4.5 and one in -3.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Barb
3 weeks ago.
I am looking for small tight prescription swim glasses that I can wear for swim as well as under goggles for snorkeling. Would the Speedo Vanquisher be best?
What would my diopter strength be:
OD: SPH: -7.0, CYL: -0.5, AXIS: 025
OS: SPH: -6.25, CYL: -0.5, AXIS: 130
Thank you!
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Barb,
Your diopter strength is OD: -7.25 and OS: -6.5. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -7.0 and one in -6.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Maya
3 weeks ago.
My glasses prescription just states the following:
Sphere Cylinder
OD -2.75 SPH (or 8PH, I can't tell the writing)
OS -3.25 SPH (or 8PH, I can't tell the writing)
(It's exactly the same as my contact lenses prescription) I was thinking about getting -2.5 goggles. Should that be okay? I am planning to go to an eye doctor soon; this prescription seems incomplete. Thank you!
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Maya,
Based of the information provided, your diopter strength would be OD: -2.75 and OS: -3.25. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -2.5 and one in -3.0) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. I would advise you to double check with your optometrist still. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Maya
3 weeks ago.
Thanks a lot and have a great day as well!
Maya
2 weeks ago.
Hello,
I got a more complete prescription from my optometrist:
Far Near DVA NVA
OD 31.50 30.00 20/20
OS 31.50 30.00 20/20
OU 63.00 60..00 20/20 20/20

Sphere Cylinder
OD: -2.50 D.S.
OS: -3.00 D.S.

Is getting 2 pairs ( one in -2.5 and one in -3.0) and interchanging the lenses for two custom pairs still appropriate?
Thank you!
Maya
Tom
3 weeks ago.
My right eye: SPH = -3.75, CYL = DS
left eye: SPH = -3.00 CYL = -1.00, Axis 170
I think I should get -3.5 for both eyes, correct ? Thanks
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Tom,
Yes, you are correct. Your diopter strength is Right: -3.75 and Left: -3.5. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Damian
4 weeks ago.
Could you help me figure out what strength goggles to get?
Right sphere +1.75 cyl -.250 axis 121
Left sphere + .750 cyl -.500 axis 43
Thank you
Sesha
4 weeks ago.
Hi,
My prescription reads as Right Eye SPH= -1.75, CYL = -2.0, Axis 10 and Left Eye SPH= -3.00, CYL = -1.00 , Axis 170.
Based on the formula described above I calculate that to a diopter strength to Right = -2.0 and left = -3.0 (rounding down value), Please can you help if this is right and how can I order two different strengths
OR
Should I round up the Right Eye lens.
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Sesha,
Your diopter strength would be RIght: -2.5 and Left: -3.5. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -2.5 and one in -3.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Heather
4 weeks ago.
sphere -2.25
Cyl -0.50
Axis 003

Sphere -2.00
Cyl -0.75
Axis 170

Which diopter should I get?
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Heather,
Your diopter strength is -2.5 and -2.375. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -2.5 and one in -2.0) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Yvonne
4 weeks ago.
My daughter need a prescription google for high school PE class, please help on her prescription:
SPHERICAL CYLINDRICAL AXIS

O.D. -8.25 +4.25 91
O.S. -8.75 +3.50 85

Thank you!
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Yvonne,
Your daughter's diopter strength is OD: -6.125 and OS: -7.0. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -6.0 and one in -7.0) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Alex
4 weeks ago.
Can you please help me with my prescription? I'm looking to get goggles for competivie swimming. I can't see the clock at practice and it's very frustrating!

OD
Sphere -4.00
Mono PD 29

OS
Sphere -3.75
Cylinder -0.25
Axis 150
Mono PD 29
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Alex,
Your diopter strength is OD: -4.0 and OS: -3.875. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -4.0 and one in -3.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Rajat Sharma
4 weeks ago.
Right and Left same
SPH = - 6.5
CYL = - 3.5
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Rajat,
Your diopter strength is -8.25. I recommend purchasing a pair at -8.0. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Rajat Sharma Read more at: http://www.swimoutlet.com/guides/how-to-choose-prescription-goggles/
3 weeks ago.
Axis for both is 180 degree, does that makes any difference. ?
swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Rajat,
No, the Axis does not make a difference when calculating the prescription. Have a great day!
Eran
4 weeks ago.
hi
my script is as follows what would u recommend as for swimming goggles
thanks
Eran
right -9.00 cyl -3.75 axis 175
left -7.00 no cyl
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Eran,
Your diopter strength would be Right: -10.875 and Left: -7.0. I would suggest getting 2 pairs ( one in -10.5 and one in -7.0) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
katie
4 weeks ago.
I need help with my son's prescription please.

(SPH) (CYL) Axis
OD -0.5 2.0 82.0
OS -0.5 2.0 90.0
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Katie,
Your son's diopter strength is OD: +0.5 and OS: +0.5. Unfortunately, positive prescription goggles start at +2.0. Please let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Rolando X Rodriguez
1 month ago.
My R eye sphere is -5.5 cylinder-1.00 axis 140. L eye sphere -4.75 cylinder-0.75 and axis 020 I need two goggles to interchange what would you recommend.
swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Rolando,
Your diopter strength is Right: -6.0 and Left: -5.125. You should go with 2 pairs ( one in -6.0 and one in -5.0) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Please see the link below for recommendation. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!


http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-vanquisher-optical-goggle-7789/?color=208
Lisa
1 month ago.
I don't have a prescription with me, but my contact lenses are -4.00 for each eye. They also say BC 8.5 or 8.6mm (I have 2 different types) and DIA 14.2mm. I have a very narrow face. I swim indoors in a pool and outdoors in a lake. May you please recommend a brand? Are there some that come with sun protection lenses? Thank you!
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Lisa,
We would need the actual glasses prescription in order to determine the correct diopter strength. I would recommend getting mirrored or tinted goggles, please see the link below. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day! http://www.swimoutlet.com/prescription-swim-goggles-c9623/?Search=SAYT-prescription
Joseph
1 month ago.
My script is:
OD -6.00 -0.75 x 80
OS -5.50 -0.50 x 90
Would I be better off buying two pairs and interchanging the lenses?
Thank you for your help
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Joseph,
Your diopter strength is OD: -6.375 and OS: -5.75. You should go with 2 pairs ( one in -6.0 and one in -5.5) and interchange the lenses for two custom pairs. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!
Ayesha
1 month ago.
Hello,
following is my prescription details:
od) Sph. -0.75 Cyl. -0.25 axis 155)
os) Sph -0.75 Cyl sph )

Doctor Note: Singlr Vision Distance.
Can you please help me to find my swimming goggles!
Thank you so much!
JAN
1 month 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 month 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!
sweetie
1 month ago.
My 8 years old daughter has myopia. Her Right: -2.00 and Left: -2.00. What kind of goggles is suitable for her?
swimoutlet.com
1 month ago.
Hi Sweetie,
The diopter strength would be -2.0 for both eyes. You should go with one pair at -2.0. Please see the link below for recommendation. Let us know if you have any questions. Have a great day!


http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/speedo-jr-vanquisher-optical-goggle-5726/?color=10807
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