Oh, snorkeling! One of the most fun and accessible ways to see the beauty of the underwater world. You are connecting with nature, keeping fit, breathing fresh air. Yes, it’s all fun and games…until you try snorkeling with glasses. Water leaking into the mask is not a pretty experience. So what is one to do if you’re blind as a bat, but still don’t want to miss out on the beauty of the Caribbean reef? Well, here are a few options you can explore.
Do you really need to be snorkeling with glasses?
First things first, if you only have a slight vision problem we may be getting ahead of ourselves and here’s why: water magnifies about 25%.
I know right! It’s a little known fact but it actually makes sense once you think about it. Glass and water have almost the same visual properties, and when the light passes through the lens of the mask into the air, it diverges. This is the reason why things appear larger in the water than on land.
So, if you don’t have a very serious vision problem, it’s a good idea to try snorkeling without glasses before spending on an expensive mask or trying crazy DIYs since water could naturally rectify your vision.
4 ways you can snorkel with your glasses
Ok, so the simple water magnification trick didn’t cut it for you. What now? When you go snorkeling you need to be able to see clearly to enjoy the experience and stay safe, so going into the water “in the dark” isn’t really a viable option.
1- Wear contact lenses
I know what you’re thinking. “Elementary, Watson. Where’s the lifesaving tip”, right?
Well here it comes: don’t just wear any contact lenses. Avoid hard and gas permeable lenses, especially if you plan on diving, since these can be painful to the eyes and cause blurry vision due to the increasing water pressure as you go down.
Also, there are a few rules of thumb when snorkeling with contact lenses. Bear in mind that you should always keep your eyes closed if you take off your mask in the water or if your mask gets flooded or else you could lose your lenses.
If you are prone to eye infections you should ideally use only daily disposable lenses or at least thoroughly rinse your eyes and contacts with clear water after you’re done. Disinfection is a must with contact lenses!
2- Buy a prescription snorkel mask
Everyday more and more options of prescription snorkel masks appear in the market. These could be a godsend for you.
However there are two common problems with pre-made prescription diving lenses: they can be quite expensive and most masks with pre-made prescription lenses will have the same prescription in each eye. If your eyes require dramatically different prescriptions, or if you have unusually high custom prescriptions, pre-made prescription masks might not work for you.
3- Custom made prescription lenses
Dealing with a very unique sight problem? When none of the readily available options in the market work for you, here’s what you can do.
Choose a non-prescription mask and replace the lenses with your prescription by sending both your mask and your order to your dive shop or to an optician who specializes in prescription masks. Most opticians who make prescription masks can make lenses for nearsighted, farsighted or astigmatic vision, as well as bifocal lenses.
Of course this option isn’t any cheaper but if you’re an active snorkeler or diver it is one of the smartest investments you could make. Just make sure your snorkel mask fits your face properly before you have it customized.
4- DIY prescription snorkel mask
Hey, not everybody has the money to splurge on a prescription snorkel mask and even if you do, if you’re not planning on using it a lot, perhaps buying an expensive prescription diving mask would not be the best investment.
To DIY your own prescription mask you will need:
1 snorkel mask (it doesn’t have to be top of the line, just make sure it is the proper gear for you)
1 pair of glasses (if you have some old glasses lying around this is their time to shine)
Eyeglass screw driver
First use the little screw driver to unscrew the ear stems of your glasses. Then fit the glasses into your mask. You may have to move them around a bit to get them in the right spot. Try on the mask with the glasses and make sure it sits comfortably in your nose. Depending on how well it adjusts, you may need to super glue your glasses to the mask.
Alternatively, if the frame of your glasses doesn’t fit your mask, you can pop the lenses off the frame and super glue them to your snorkel mask.
This is a very cheap and somewhat effective option.
As you can see, there are various options you can explore in order to make the most out of that snorkeling trip of your dreams. Now you just need an excuse to debut your new underwater vision, so why not try one of Aquaworld’s incredible snorkeling tours? Sea you at the beach!