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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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Mary
4 days 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
1 day 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!
granny
2 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
5 days 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
5 days 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
1 day 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
2 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
5 days 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
2 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
6 days 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
2 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
6 days 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
2 weeks 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
6 days 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
2 weeks 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
2 weeks 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!
Tricia Moyer
2 weeks ago.
I wish I wasn't so confused by this...

My right eye is sphere -3.5, cyl +.50, axis 105
My left eye is sphere -3.25, cyl +1.25, axis 075

Would it be accurate to get google with 3.5 for both eyes?

Thank you,
Tricia
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Tricia,

Your diopter strength would be Right; -3.25 Left: -2.62. So you can either go with one pair at -2.5 or get 2 pairs (one in -2.5 and one in -.3.0) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
mike
2 weeks ago.
Here is my prescription, i can not see t garmin watch on t pool. Thanks

Sp -.25 cyl -.5 axis 085 near add +1.75
Sp -.5o cyl -.5 axis 095 near add +1.75
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Mike,

Your diopter strength according to your prescription is -.50 and -.75. Since your prescription is low, you would probably be okay with just regular nonprescription goggles. If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
mike
2 weeks ago.
But i cant read my work out? Any suggestions
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Mike,

You may want to first check with your optometrist to make sure your prescription is correct. The sphere values look a bit lower than normal. If that is correct then you would probably need to have someone custom make a low prescription pair. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Daniel
2 weeks ago.
Got the spec details from doctor. Please let me know what is best for goggles?
R-3.75 -1.5 x 180 6/6
L-3.25 -1.5 x 175 6/6
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Daniel,

Your diopter strength will be R -4.5 L -4. You can either go with 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 other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Silvia
3 weeks ago.
Hi,
please, can you help me calculate my diopter strength? I see that I only have numbers for my sphere but not for my cylinder.
My RT: -2.00 cylinder; SPH
LT: -2.50 Cylinder: SPH

Thanks~!!!
SwimOutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Silvia,

If your cylinder value is 0 then your diopter strength would be your cylinder value. You may want to double check with your optometrist to make sure the prescription is correct. If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
silvia
3 days ago.
Now that i want to get my goggles, under select type, what number should I choose if my right eye is -2.00 and left eye is -2.50?
SwimOutlet.com
1 day ago.
You can either go with one pair at -2.0 or get 2 pairs (one in -2 and in one -2.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 customer pairs. Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Heather
3 weeks ago.
Hi!
I'm having difficulty determining my lens strength based on the numbers my doctor gave me. He prefers to try to sell his patients his in-office eye wear and I've noticed that he is reluctant give me ALL my numbers that might allow me to order my eye wear online.

He wrote the following on my prescription for eyeglasses:
OD: Sphere (-6.75) Cylinder (SPH.) Axis (blank) Dist (28.5)
OS: Sphere (-8.25) Cylinder (SPH.) Axis (blank) Dist (28)

I don't know if my prescription for contacts would also be helpful:
OD: BC (8.60) Dia (14.20) Sphere (-6.00) Cylinder (SPH.)
OS: BC (8.60) Dia (14.20) Sphere (-7.50) Cylinder (SPH.)

Any help would be much appreciated, thank you so much!!
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Heather,

If your cylinder value is 0 then your sphere value would be the diopter strength. So your diopter will be OD: -6.75 and OS -8.25. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful day!
Eileen
3 weeks ago.
Hi! My prescription says -4.0 sphere for both eyes, but in the cylinder column, the doctor just wrote SPH. The only other number on the prescription is Add +1.50. Is it possible to tell from this what prescription goggles I need?

Thanks so much,
Eileen
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Eileen,

Since the cylinder column is blank, I'm assuming your diopter strength would be -4 then. But I do suggest that you contact your optometrist to confirm the diopter strength. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Reema
3 weeks ago.
Please help. I was trying to calculate...but I am totally off so I missed something. Could you tell me what I would order if my prescription is the following:

R-eye: -3.25 Cyl -0.75 X 172
L-eye: -3.25 Cyl -0.75 X 015

Thanks in advance!
Swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Hi Reema,

Sure! Your diopter strength would be -3.6 for both sides. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Pamela
3 weeks ago.
Hi. My child's prescription is
OD: Sphere -2.50 Cylinder -1.00.....comes out to (-3.0)
OS: Sphere -2.25 Cylinder -0.75 (-2.625)...comes out to (-2.625)

Is this the correct calculation? When the right and left eyes have different prescriptions, which way should I order the lenses ---up towards the higher power or down to the lower? And for the "in-between" of -2.625, not sure which number to order closest to since the goggles come in increments of .5. Pls advise. Thx!
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Pamela,

Your calculations are absolutely correct! 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. You do not want to go higher than the prescription as this can hurt their eyes. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
Corey
3 weeks ago.
Please confirm my calculaiton
Right: sphere -2.5 cylinder -0.75 would be -2.875 but use -2.5?
Left; sphere -5.25 cylinder -1.5 would be -6.0 use -6.0?
Thanks in the advance for the help
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Corey,

You are absolutely correct! Let us know if you need help with anything. Have a wonderful day!
Janel
4 weeks ago.
My daughter's prescription.

Can you help me? Most of the above examples are (-) not (+).

O.D. Sph.+5.50 Cyl +.50 Axis 90
O.S. Sph.+5.50 Cyl +.50 Axis 90

Does this mean a 3.25?

Thank you!
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Janel,

Her diopter strength would be +5.75 for both eyes. She would need a positive diopter strength pair. Below is a link to our positive diopter pair of goggles:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=28904

If you have any questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
ron
4 weeks ago.
Hi,

I read your article but the answer you gave to James (the James from two weeks ago) did not seem to follow. James said he had Right: Sphere +3.00 / cyl. 0 and Left: Sphere +3.50 / cyl -1.250. You said left diopter wold be +3.87. How does +3.50 + -1.25/2 = +3.87? Did you mean +2.875?

My prescription is:

OD Sph +2.50 Cyl -2.50
OS Sph +3.00 Cyl -1.25

Do the diopters below look correct?

OD 1.25 and OS 2.375

Thx Ron
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Ron,

Your calculations are absolutely correct! Your OD is +1.25 and OS is +2.375. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us. Have a great day!
Melissa
4 weeks ago.
I need some help calculating my little girl's prescription to order some of the googles on your site.

Her prescription is -
RX OD: -350 -125 x165
RX OS: +075 -300 x172

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

If the cylinder and sphere values are noted correctly then her diopter strength is OD: -4.1 OS: -0.75. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us. Have a wonderful day!
Arul
4 weeks ago.
Hi, can you please help me calculate my diopter.
Od -3.00 sphere -1.5 cylindrical with axis 30
OS -2.5 sphere -2.5 cylindrical with axis 135
Which calculates to OD -3.75 and OS -3.75. Is this correct? Does it mean I need to go with -3.5 glasses.

Thanks,
Arul
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Arul,

You are absolutely correct on your calculations! And yes, you would then need to go with a pair in -3.5. Feel free to contact us with any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Arul
3 weeks ago.
Thank you, I will start shopping now!
Tom
4 weeks ago.
Hi, my prescription is -6.25 for my right eye, and -6.50 for my left, and neither has astigmatism, so my question is - I noticed the prescriptions jump from -6 to -7, with no half or quarter sizes in between. Does that mean I should just get -7?

Thanks!
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Tom,

Since the increments increase by 0.5, you want to get either one pair at -6 or 2 pairs (one in -6 and one in -6.5) and interchange the eye pieces for 2 custom pairs. You do not want to go with anything higher than your prescription as that can hurt your eyes. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
Tom
4 weeks ago.
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly - I was curious though, you mentioned about possibly getting -6.5, but all the prescription goggles I see you have for sale all only do -6.0 and then jump to -7.0, or am I overlooking a pair that has that option? (on the TYR Product Code: 3465, the Sporti Antifog S2 Optical Goggle Product Code: 22598 and the Speedo Vanquisher Optical Goggle Product Code: 7789 it looks like they all jump from -6.0 to -7.0 without a half size in between.)
Swimoutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Tom,

You are very welcome! It looks like we no longer carry the -6.5 in those. I did find the Sporti Antifog Optical Pro II Goggle that still has the -6.5. The link to that pair is below:

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-optical-pro-ii-goggle-22390/?color=10811

If you have any other questions please let us know or feel free to call our customer service at 1-800-691-4065. Have a great day!
elizabeth Pun
4 weeks ago.
Hello,
I'd like to buy a couple of swimming google for my niece who practices swimming racing, she is 13 years old, her measurement is as follow:
Right eye: -5.50 -0.50*160
Left eye: -5.50 -1.00*170 Dip60 (PD)
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Elizabeth,

If the cylinder and sphere are in the correct order then her diopter strength would be: Right -5.75 & -6. Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a great day!
Mjames
4 weeks ago.
Can you help me figure out the prescription level for my daughter and son

Daughter : SP, CYL, AXis
-2.00, DS , -
-3.00, DS , -

Son : SP, CYL, AXis
-3.00, -0.25, 092
-3.50, -0.25, 086

thank you
Swimoutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Mjames,

Your daughters diopter strength would be -2 & -3. Your son's will be -3.12 & -3.6. If you have any other questions please feel free to let us know. Have a wonderful day!
reina
4 weeks ago.
Hi, my power in both eyes is strong, -13/-1.5/10 and -13/-1/5.are there any prescribed goggles for such numbers? Thanks.
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Reina,

The prescription goggles that we have go up to -10. You may want to check with a place that custom makes it for anything stronger. Good luck in your search! Please let us know if you have any other questions. Have a wonderful day!
james
1 month ago.
Help! my right eye has a sphere of +3.00 and a cyl. 0
left eye has a sphere of +3.50 and a cyl. of -1.250
what diopter would I need for swin goggles? thanks.
Swimoutlet.com
5 weeks ago.
Hi James,

Your diopter strength would be Right: +3 Left: +3.87. You can find the positive strengths in the link below. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns. Have a wonderful day!

http://www.swimoutlet.com/p/sporti-antifog-positive-optical-goggle-29800/?color=28904
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