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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.

    Enter the Sphere and Cylinder values from your prescription into the Lens Calculator below and click the Calculate button to determine which diopter strength would best suit your needs.


      Sphere Cylinder Diopter Strength
    O.D.
    (right eye)
     
    O.S.
    (left eye)
     

    *This measurement is only a suggestion. It is best to confirm your diopter
    strength with your optometrist.

     
  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.


Shop all Prescriptions Swim Goggles

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jay
3 days ago.
What do I need for:

OD Sphere -3.25 Cyl +.25 Axis 090
OS Sphere -2.50 Cyl Sph Axis blank
SwimOutlet
2 days ago.
Hi Jay!

Your right eye is -3.00 while your left eye is -2.50.

Since you have different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Toots
4 days ago.
If my diopter strength is -1.25 & -1.625 am I fine getting the -1.5 speedo Vanquisher 2.0, or should I find a pair where I can get a -1 and a -1.5 and switch out the lenses?
SwimOutlet
4 days ago.
Hi Toots!

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.

You should get -1.00 and -1.50. Since you have different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Ruth N. Torres
3 days ago.
My right eye -3.00 CYL. -1.75 AXIS 165
Left eye - 4.25 CYL -2.00 AXIS 030
What prescription goggles I have buy ?
SwimOutlet
2 days ago.
Hi Ruth!

Your right eye is -3.50 while your left eye is -5.00.

Since you have different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Gita
5 days ago.
if I have Right sph-175. cyl -025. axis 180
Left sph -175 cal -075 axis 008 what size prescription googles I have buy?
SwimOutlet
4 days ago.
Hi Gita!

Please verify if it is -175 or -1.75. We need to get the exact spheres of your eyes.
Gitana
3 days ago.
I just checked with the Eye center And they said -1.75
SwimOutlet
2 days ago.
Hi Gitana!

Your right eye is -1.50 while your left eye is -1.00.

Since you have different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Cristina
5 days ago.
Hello,

My son’s rx is
OD -4.5 -.5 x110
OS -4.5 -.25 x120

What would be the best strength to get for him?

Thank you.
SwimOutlet
4 days ago.
Hi Christina!

For both eyes, you should get -4.5.
Elessia
3 weeks ago.
Is your calculator broken? It just keeps reloading the page when I enter the numbers
swimoutlet.com
2 weeks ago.
Please try again. We are not experiencing any issues on our site.
Michael
2 weeks ago.
I had the same problem on mobile, switched to the desktop site version from settings and it works
Tony
3 weeks ago.
Hello, My Right: sphere is +0.50, Axis 005 Left: sphere is+0.25, Axis 162 Can you help?
SwimOutlet
3 weeks ago.
Hi Tony!

Please double check the information you have provided. We need your O.D (right eye) and your O.S. (left eye) spheres and cylinders value.
Anne
3 weeks ago.
Hi,

My prescription is:
Right: Sphere -8.00 Cylinder -3.00 Axis 34
Left: Sphere -6.35 Cylinder -1.25 Axis 172

I'm wondering prescription swimming googles to get.

Thanks, Anne
SwimOutlet
3 weeks ago.
Hi Anne!

For your right eye, it is -9.5 while for your left eye is -6.5.

Since you have different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Mel
3 weeks ago.
I want to buy a swimming gogles here's my prescription.RT: sphere +2.00 cylinder -0.50 Axis 120 LT: sphere +2.00 cylinder -0.25 Axis 065
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Mel,

The RT is +1.75 and LT is +1.875. You can get at least + 1.75 for both eyes.
Bik
3 weeks ago.
Hi,
My readings are:
RE: sphere -0.25 cyl -0.75 axis 100
LE: sphere -2.75 cyl -0.25 axis 85
What would be the best swimming prescription goggles for me?
While calculating diopter strength, both came up at -2.875
Thanks
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Bik,

We reentered the numbers and showed DS of -0.625 for your right eye and -2.875 for your left. This means you can get a regular lens for your right eye and a -2.5 for your left.
Bik
3 weeks ago.
Sorry I wrote it wrong: , My readings are: RE: sphere -2.50 cyl -0.75 axis 100 LE: sphere -2.75 cyl -0.25 axis 85 Can you please check it again for me? Thanks
SwimOutlet
3 weeks ago.
Hi Bik!

You should get -2.50 for both eyes.
Jenn
3 weeks ago.
hi, i need help for my daughter's swim goggles. here's her prescription:

Sphere OD +2.75, Cylinder -2.50, Axis 080
Sphere OS +3.50, Cylinder -3.25, Axis 110

Thank you!
SwimOutlet
3 weeks ago.
Hi Jenn!

Do get a positive 1.5 lens for the right eye and a positive 5 for the left.
seb
3 weeks ago.
My prescription is as follows:
OD, Sphere: -3 Cylinder: -1.75
OS, Sphere: -5 Cylinder: -1.25

Diopter strength calculates to:
OD: -3.875
OS: -5.625

Can you recommend what should I get ?
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Seb,

Your OD DS is -3.875 and OS DS is -6.687. We don't have the exact DS available but you can round down to -3.5 and -6.5. You need to get one pair each and interchange the lenses so you get 1 good pair.
Quintana
4 weeks ago.
Hi,
I need some assistance with the calculation. The calculation indicates my diopter strength is +1.25 for both eyes but I am only seeing negative strength for the google options.

OD - SPH = +2.00, CYL = -1.50, AXIS = 170
OS - SPH = +2.25, CYL = -2.00, AXIS = 178

Thank you for the assistance!
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Quintana,

I entered the numbers and it gave us a diopter strength of +1.25 for your right eye and +1.5 for your left eye. The only available +1.5 goggles we have is Product Code: 8193536. So as not to strain your eye you have to also get a regular pair. The lenses are interchangeable, so you can end up with one good pair. Regular lens on the right and +1.5 on the left.
Angeline
4 weeks ago.
Hi there! The prescription for my son says both eyes are -3.0 D.S. Can you please advise? Thank you kindly, Angeline
SwimOutlet.com
4 weeks ago.
Hi Angeline,

Can you please provide both Sphere and Cylinder of his OD and OS?
Angeline
3 weeks ago.
It stared -3.0 D.S. For both eyes
SwimOutlet.com
3 weeks ago.
Hi Angeline,

In order for us to verify, can you provide your Sphere and Cylinder of his OD and OS from your eye prescription.
Anna
4 weeks ago.
My son's prescription is
R: Shp: +4.75. Cyl -2.5, Axis 91
L: Sph: +4.75, Cyl -2.25 , Axis 83

Please can you assist me in finding the right goggles for him?
SwimOutlet
4 weeks ago.
Hi Anna!

Both eyes have +3.50.
Janice Newman
4 weeks ago.
My son’s prescription is
RT sphere -4.50 and cylinder -0.25
LT sphere -4.25 and cylinder -0.50

The calculator says -4.625 for the right and -4.5 for the left. Can I get him -4.5 for both eyes or should I get a -5 and a -4.5 and switch the lenses?

Thank you for your help.
SwimOutlet
4 weeks ago.
Hi Janice!

Do get a negative 4.5 lens for both the right and left eyes. Thanks!
Alma
1 month ago.
My daughters prescription is OD -0.25 sphere , -4.00 Cylinder. OS -1.00 sphere, -3.50 cylinder. . What would work for her?
SwimOutlet
1 month ago.
Hi Alma!

She has -2.0 diopter on her right eye and -2.5 on her left eye. Since she has a different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Crystal
1 month ago.
Please recommend prescription goggles for my son. His glasses RX details are: OD Sphere: -1.25; OS Sphere: -1.00; OD Cylinder: -2.00; OS Cylinder: -1.50

Thank you.
SwimOutlet
1 month ago.
Hi Crystal!

His right eye is -2.00 while his left eye is -1.50.

Since he has a different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Robert
1 month ago.
The calculator works on the website, not on the mobile site. You can "request desktop site" on your phone and it will work.
Mark
1 month ago.
Right eye sphere +2.50, cylinder -1.00, left eye sphere +2.25, cylinder -1.00, calculator keeps spitting me out
SwimOutlet
1 month ago.
Hi Mark! Please get prescription goggles with a diopter strength of +1.75
Laurie
1 month ago.
I’m ordering swim goggles for my daughter. She is on swim team for her school. The calculator keeps removing my info and not giving strength I need to order. Right eye -175 -75 x100 Left eye -175. -75. X 90 Please help - de need to order soon as possible. Thanks Laurie
SwimOutlet
1 month ago.
Hi Laurie!

You need to get negative 2 lens for both right and left eyes.
Sue
1 month ago.
My daughter is +6.5 sphere with +1 in right eye and +7.5 sphere with +.5 in her left eye. The tool included is not working. She is joining a swim team and I would greatly appreciate knowing what I need to buy her! Tyia
SwimOutlet
1 month ago.
Hi Sue!

She has +7 diopter on her right eye and +7.5 on her left eye.

Since she has a different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Kim Lehman
1 month ago.
Hi, I am buying goggles for my daughter. She will need it for lap swimming for a college fitness course. I think she will need racing goggles.
Her prescription is:
OD Sphere -4.5 Cyl -0.50 AXIS 095
OS Sphere -5.75 Cyl Sph
Then it says Type: DVO at the bottom of the script
I will buy two pair of goggles since her strengths differ and then I will switch it out to make one pair. This works, right> Please advise what strength I should buy.
SwimOutlet
1 month ago.
Hi Kim!

Her right eye is -4.5 while her left eye is -5.5.

Since she has a different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Lisanne Brady
1 month ago.
Hi, can you please advise my diopter. RE sphere - 9.75,cylinder - 0.25,Axis 60. LE similar, - 9.75,-0.25,110 And point me in the direction of swimming goggles that come in that strength? Many thanks
SwimOutlet
1 month ago.
Hi Lisanne!

Based on the calculation, both of your eyes has -9.50 diopter.
Del Hall
2 months ago.
Hello The Calculator Erases My Information. Please calculate. I need them for recreational swimming. Right Sphere: -3.25 Cylinder: +0.75 Axis: 103 Left Sphere: -4.00 Cylinder: +1.75 Axis: 058
Shop@SwimOutlet
2 months ago.
Hello Del!

Based off the prescription information provided your strengths are as follows: Right Eye: - 2.5
Left Eye: -3.0

Since you have a different strength in each eye you will need to purchase one pair of goggles in each size and then swap the lenses once received.
Shop@SwimOutlet
2 months ago.
Hi Del!

Swapping the lenses will not cause water to get in as you are just removing the nose piece and then putting the goggles back together. You will not be removing the lens from the seal. For recreational use I would recommend the Sporti Brand!
Peter
3 months ago.
I have good vision so haven't had an eye test for a while. But i do use reading glasses strength 200. Can i buy goggles with reading glass lens, it's so i can see my Garmin smart watch
SwimOutlet
3 months ago.
Hi Peter!

We recommend getting a prescription goggles. Make sure that you get first the right diopter strength of both your right and left eye. The calculator above will you out.
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