When snorkeling, there is simply so much to see underwater: fish, coral, rays, sea turtles, dolphins, and the list goes on. To be able to snorkel and see underwater, however, can be a little trickier than for our pals with 20/20 eyesight if you’re like me and not necessarily endowed with flawless vision.
So, the obvious question is: Can you snorkel with glasses? You can wear a snorkel mask that has built-in corrective lenses, alter an existing pair of glasses to fit a snorkel mask, or use your glasses prescription to add corrective lens inserts to your mask.
There are a number of additional strategies that enable you to snorkel safely and with clarity. Over the years, I’ve tried these techniques in the water to see what works and how much time and money they require. So, let’s examine the many methods of seeing underwater in order of simplicity to complexity.
Test Your Natural Vision Underwater In A Snorkel Mask
If you can, borrow a mask from a friend and test the water’s visibility by wading into some shallow, safe water. A local dive shop (although certainly not a basic snorkel rental hut on the beach) can possibly assist you with several of the other possibilities on this list if things aren’t going as well as you’d like.
Never Snorkel With Contact Lenses On
Because it’s so simple, this was probably your first thought. However, wearing contacts in the water in any situation is strongly discouraged by medical professionals. Some recognize that it is not always possible for everyone to avoid wearing contacts, and they recommend a few things to keep in mind if you can’t avoid wearing them in order to keep your eyes safe and have a good time.
Search For Snorkel Mask Corrective Lens Inserts
If your vision isn’t corrected by the natural lensing of the water (see option #1 above), specialized inserts for snorkel masks exist that work to correct your natural vision without the use of glasses or contacts. These are especially useful if you already have a snorkel mask that you like and that fits you well and that you want to keep using.
Pick Up A Snorkel Mask With Drop-In Corrective Lenses
If you need a general corrective lens (not something in a bi-focal format), an optical dive mask with corrective lenses installed directly into the frame is your best bet. This is the most popular option among corrective masks because it strikes a good balance between cost and effort.
Send In Your Favorite Mask For Bonded Lenses Installation
If you already have a favorite mask and none of the other options work for you, you can send it to a company that specializes in creating bonded lenses for snorkel masks.
Send In Your Favorite Mask To Have Integrated Lenses Installed
This method is similar to the previous one in that you send in your favorite mask, but instead of a manufacturer creating separate lenses that are bonded onto your mask, they create an entirely new lens based on your glasses prescription that is inserted directly into your snorkel mask.
Modify An Old Pair Of Glasses To Fit In Your Snorkel Mask
An old pair of spectacles. You won’t be able to wear your current pair because we’ll be making some changes. If the prescription is slightly out of date, the lensing effect of water (see option #1 above) will likely compensate for the difference. If your prescription is uniform (the same power is required for each eye), you can get a cheap pair of readers (or “cheaters,” as my father-in-law refers to them) from the drug store for this purpose.
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