Abstract The concepts of sink capture efficiency and sink strength for point defects are central to the theory of point defect reactions in materials undergoing irradiation. Two fundamentally different definitions of the capture efficiency are in current use. The essential difference can be stated simply. The conventional meaning denotes a measure of the loss rate of point defects to sinks per unit mean point defect concentration. A second definition of capture efficiency, introduced recently, gives a measure of the point defect loss rate without normalization to the mean point defect concentration. The relationship between the two capture efficiencies is here derived. By stating the relationship we hope to eliminate confusion caused by comparisons of the two types of capture efficiencies at face value and to provide a method of obtaining one from the other. Internally consistent usage of either of the capture efficiencies leads to the same results for the calculation of measuable quantities, as is required physically.