One of the most common questions Dive Instructors hear is “If I wear glasses or contacts, can I scuba dive?”. The answer is; Absolutely!
Approximately 6 out of 10 people wear some type of corrective lenses (prescription glasses, contact lenses or reading glasses). With so many of us needing corrective lenses, there has to be a way for all of us that want to enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving in the underwater world to be able to see a safe distance away as well as read our dive computers up close.
Here are the top 8 reasons to get a prescription dive mask:
1. While scuba diving, we have to exhale air into our mask to avoid mask squeeze. The air you breathe is extremely dry and moisture-free. This could cause your eyes to become too dry to comfortably wear contact lenses.
2. At depths greater than 70 feet, nitrogen gas could build up underneath hard contact lenses and even with soft lenses. After surfacing, this can cause a distortion from pressure being pushed on the cornea, and in time, can damage the eyes.
3. Larger bodies of water contain small parasites. When analyzed with a microscope, you will actually see a small worm. These have been known to get trapped between the contact lens and the eye. The only exit for these small worms is to bore into the eye, causing infections and possibly permanent blindness.
4. While snorkeling and/or diving our masks can leak or possibly flood. This could cause the loss of either one or both of your contact lenses. Making it next to impossible to locate your dive buddy or to see your way back to the boat or beach.
5. By making the investment to have prescription lenses permanently installed into a quality dive mask, you will have superb, crystal clear vision. It is often even more clear than it is on land! Sometimes divers who are claustrophobic may not be able to complete their scuba course if they cannot see clearly! Depending on your prescription, you may need single vision, bi-focal or reading cut lenses – all are available.
6. The cost of installing prescription lenses is relatively low. It is not just a pair of glasses glued in a mask, it is a specially designed lens that is flat on one side (to allow correct bonding to your mask) with the script professionally ground into the other side.
7.Even if your prescription changes a little, you may not need to change your prescription lenses in your mask. Since we only wear the mask during our time in the water, you may be able to still see clearly and safely while diving.
8. Exploring our underwater world is very much a visual sport. Since 72% of everything we learn is visual, it only makes sense to do everything possible to be able to see as clearly as possible. There is so much beauty and color to the underwater world!
What is needed to install prescription lenses?
In order to install prescription lenses, we need a copy of your current prescription with your pupil distance listed (this can also be measured at Scuba Professionals of Arizona). The pupil distance will insure the lenses are centered correctly into the mask.
The distance between the eye and the prescription lens is determined by the specific style and shape of your mask. It is critical that you choose a mask that is made of tempered glass, is a scuba quality mask and that it fits you correctly. Try your mask in our pool prior to installing your prescription lenses both with / without a snorkel or scuba regulator in your mouth. The mask has to be comfortable on your face without digging into your face or shifting.
You CAN scuba dive if you wear glasses or contacts!
If you usually wear glasses to function throughout the day, you may need prescription lenses in your dive mask. If you don’t believe me, take off your glasses or contacts and go for a walk around your house or another comfortable setting. You will truly understand that you need corrective lenses both above AND underwater!
In closing, snorkeling and scuba diving are great sports! When you put your hard-earned money towards the right equipment, it makes these sports UNBELIEVABLE!
By Paul Wagenseller, Co-owner and General Manager at Scuba Professionals of Arizona