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Snorkeling is one of the best ways to explore the oceans and get a glimpse of life underwater. It requires minimal equipment and almost no training. It is one of the most blissful ways to explore the beauty that lies underneath our seas and oceans. People of all ages can indulge in this activity and it can serve as a stepping stone to scuba diving.
Of course, not everyone can enjoy this recreational activity to its fullest extent. People who wear glasses might not like the prospect of not being able to see clearly underwater. One thing to note is that water magnifies everything by 25%. This means everything looks closer and larger to you. This is due to the lens in the snorkeling mask having a thicker density than the air inside the mask. If your vision issues are minor, there is no need to wear prescription masks.
Yet for those of you with acute vision problems, taking up snorkeling sounds like a far-fetched prospect. However, there are ways to safely snorkel even if you happen to wear glasses. If you really want to take up snorkeling with glasses, then this guide is for you.
1. Contact Lenses
Perhaps the easiest way to snorkel is by wearing contact lenses. It is the go-to option for people who love to snorkel but happen to wear glasses. Before you use contact lenses for snorkeling, you should first feel comfortable when you use it on a daily basis. Consult an optometrist for a set so you can use it on a daily basis. There are also hard contact lenses, which require you to ‘break them in’ before you can wear them for prolonged periods. However, these hard and gas permeable contact lenses are not recommended for use underwater as they can be painful to the eyes due to the increased pressure as you go deeper.
For a majority of the spectacle-wearing folk, the reason they have shied away from contact lenses is due to the hassles that come with wearing them. It requires direct contact with your eye and when exposed to saltwater it could also lead to irritation.
2. Homemade Prescription Mask
If you are not someone that likes to use contact lenses, there is the option of getting a prescription mask. Prescription masks, although they are a great option, also happen to be on the expensive side. If you do not snorkel often and are only looking for a one-time solution, making your prescription mask is a good idea.
This DIY solution can be economical and you get to enjoy the experience without losing your glasses. All you need is a mask and an old pair of spectacles. Here are the steps you need to follow to make your own homemade prescription mask.
- Put on the mask and mark the outside of the mask with two dots. These act as indicators of where you want to place the lens on.
- Pop-out the lenses from your old glasses. Do remember which lens is for which eye.
- Clean the lenses as well as the mask thoroughly.
- On the inside of the mask, put a dab of superglue and then place the lens on top it immediately. Be careful not to smudge or leave prints as it can be very hard to clean.
- Repeat with the other lens, and voila, you have your homemade prescription mask!
3. Prescription Mask
For the more adventurous snorkeler and for those that do not like the hassle of either wearing lenses, or do not want to indulge in any DIY activity, there is the prescription mask. You have two options here: the cheap and the expensive one.
- If you want to take up snorkeling regularly and have money to spend, then you can get a prescription mask the same way as you would get your normal glasses. You will have to visit a water-sports shop to get a prescription mask. These masks are custom-made for you and will provide the best viewing experience underwater.
- If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, you can find these in a local scuba store and on websites such as Amazon. You can find masks for people with near-sightedness as well as far-sightedness. There are also bi-focal masks available. As these masks are not a custom fit, you will have to find one which fits your prescription. If you do not have any issues such as astigmatism (cylindrical power) or differing power for each eye, then these optical masks should work just fine.
4. Full-Face Mask and Optical Lens Support
If you do not like the idea of a using two separate apparatus for breathing and viewing underwater, a full-face mask solves the issue. The mask itself is divided into a viewing and breathing part. With a full-face mask, you get a wider viewing angle. As the name suggests, it covers your entire face. These masks can be purchased online or from your nearest scuba shop. These masks do not come with any added correction in the lens and it cannot also be made via prescription. The solution is to attach frames that can hold lenses inside the mask.
You will, however, have to purchase specific frames that can fit a particular type of face mask.
Caution is advised when using a full-face mask. You should ensure that the seal between the breathing and viewing part is perfect. It is advisable to purchase a full-face mask from trusted manufacturers.
5. Magnifying Glasses (for Far-Sighted People)
If you use reading glasses, then adding magnifying glasses, or magnifiers as it is colloquially referred to as is a great option. These glasses are removable as well as reusable, which can be stuck on the original lenses of the mask. They are circular and are used widely by divers to read their video camera screens or their dive computers. These glasses can be purchased through Amazon and even at your local scuba shop. They also come with a special adhesive and a set of instructions to help you attach it to your face mask. The only issue, like before, is that these glasses cannot be made through a prescription.