For those looking to go take a vacation where you can snorkel in crystal clear water, the question may come for either you or maybe a family member who doesn’t have perfect vision.
Can they even enjoy the trip the same way, well let’s take a look into wearing glasses or corrective lenses while snorkeling!
Yes, it is quite possible to snorkel while wearing glasses though you will have some key considerations for comfort to think about. The main issue with glasses is that the mask seal may fit the glasses but there is an air gap that is formed on the ear sides that may let the water just pour in!
I can tell you from experience that many items of all kinds say they work with glasses but they have side problems, some press on the nose or ear points of contact causing immense pain over time and leading to a less-than-optimal enjoyment of any activity!
Today we can dive into this topic and discuss some tips and tricks for wearing a pair of glasses while snorkeling that will help make your vision underwater better to enhance your experience and make it a lot more enjoyable and hassle-free.
Is Snorkeling With Glasses Possible?
As we spoke about above, it is a question that is vital to everyone having fun on the trip and the definitive answer is yes but you need to focus on good gear setup and getting the right mask & fit or you will get a gear failure.
Going to the dive store, outfitter, or whoever is providing the tour can help make sure that you get these issues sorted before heading out into the water as having to take off glasses to see just leads to blurry vision and a loss in the experience that they and you don’t want!
If you can’t find a good experience with glasses there are a lot of other options available from choosing contacts for that day or even getting prescription snorkel masks, yes they do exist, and can maybe be the next step for you to get out and enjoy snorkeling!
Alternatives to Snorkeling With Glasses
When choosing to snorkel if you prefer to wear glasses in daily life, you may choose to change this to get the optimal enjoyment and visual experience under the sea. This will require that you think about some alternatives to glasses in many cases.
Below we have a list of ways to still get out and enjoy snorkeling without your glasses, some of these will be good for you and others may not but below we can discuss why.
You may believe you’ll need to wear glasses or other corrective lenses while snorkeling if your vision is only a little blurred.
Water really magnifies what you see, so even if your eyesight isn’t quite perfect on land, you might be able to discern fine while snorkeling if your vision isn’t too far off from a 20/20 overall score.
At the very least, you should test this for yourself before going to the beach to ensure that you can see how you want to be able to see underwater or if you’ll need to settle for something else later on this list.
If you have a snorkel mask or worst case some swim goggles, all you have to do is put it on and wade into a pool, or if you don’t have any decent-sized bathtub in your home to inspect an item at multiple distances.
Although you won’t be able to get as good of a read on how the water is impacting your vision’s focus as you would in an ocean with limitless distances, you should be able to tell if thing is clearer than when you are out of the water.
Most of the time in snorkeling you don’t need super far-reaching vision as most are around you to maybe 50 feet or so.
What you need though is optimal viewing within this region if at all possible to enjoy your expedition.
This is my preferred way to correct my vision as it adds no weight to the bridge of my nose and instead allows me to save hundreds of dollars on custom snorkeling equipment and special lenses.
There are issues though depending on the types of contacts you wear as a soft contact lens versus hard contact lenses react differently under pressure underwater and the best may still be to choose daily disposables that can be tossed afterward.
Hard Contact Lenses While Underwater
Hard contacts are not good with deeper trips, if you plan to use a snorkel but dive down deeper you will want to make sure to not wear hard contacts as the pressure builds up behind them and applies pressure to your eyes causing blurred vision and pain or discomfort.
Cons about Contacts While Underwater
The biggest one is that they can be easily dislodged in water, so if you should be underwater and develop a leak where water comes in you want to close your eyes and swim to the surface to let the water out before opening your eyes.
Another issue is that you can end up with eye issues and problems like infections. To avoid eye irritation and reduce your chance of acquiring an eye infection, make sure to thoroughly rinse your eyes with clean water and disinfect your contact lenses after snorkeling.
Prescription Snorkel Masks
A prescription mask is the finest option for a snorkeler who wears glasses. Prescription masks are designed to look and function identically to your prescription eyeglasses.
Because all of the modifications to prescription masks are made to the lens, you put them on like any other mask.
This gives the most comfortable fit and the fewest problems. You can defog and clean your mask in the same way as normal.
Any mask with prescription lenses is better because they are prescribed for you specifically, and offer the advantage of containing everything you’ll need to see properly and comfortably.
Bifocals and prisms can even be incorporated into prescription masks to provide you with excellent vision. Prescription masks are superior to other choices because of their precision and accuracy.
Of course, those additions cost more money. That is why a prescription snorkeling mask can be expensive. They are only practical for people who snorkel regularly.
Prescription or Corrective Lenses
This is similar to the bonded lens, but rather than being formed by a mold, the whole mask lens is replaced with a lens that has been custom-ground to your prescription.
This may provide better results, particularly for extremely strong prescriptions or those with significant astigmatism. It also has the benefit of being a perfect match.
With the cheaper bonded option below, there may be sections of empty space around the edges that the corrected lens does not cover.
This choice can also be lighter since to extremely durable and lightweight plastic lens choices.
Bonded Corrective Lenses
An easy choice is called a bonded lens since it involves the use of corrective lenses that are bonded to the interior of your snorkel mask lenses.
You can either send them your own purchased mask or purchase one from one of the providers. Your local diving shop probably has a business connection with one of these firms and can handle it for you.
The lens is ground to your prescription requirements, then cut into the basic shape of your mask lens and subsequently bonded to the interior of your mask with a specific adhesive glue.
It will most likely take between one week and ten days.
The overall cost of contact lenses is comparable to that of standard eyeglasses, which start at around $200 for a basic lens.
Bifocals and other bespoke options are more expensive due to the extra work to craft them.
They may also install prescription readers on the bottom of your mask if you have difficulty seeing things up close, such as your camera settings or watch.
There are some drawbacks to this approach. Because of the addition of another lens within the existing mask lens, it adds weight to your mask.
Furthermore, because the bonded lens is often not precisely the same form as your mask lens, there will be gaps at the edges.
Additionally, if you have eye issues like astigmatism or a strong prescription this approach may not work for you in today’s world, though technology is always advancing.
Optical Snorkeling Masks
Optical snorkeling masks are simply generic prescription goggles. Instead of holding your precise prescription, they come with basic corrective lenses that are comparable to your own.
Consider them like the rotating display of reading glasses you find in a store, only for snorkeling.
Optical snorkeling masks will not provide you with perfect eyesight, but they will give you excellent vision, which for most people is enough to see everything they want to see underwater.
Since the lenses correct the vision, an optical mask, like these prescription masks, will fit just like a normal standard snorkel mask.
Because the masks are produced in large quantities, they are frequently less expensive than prescription snorkeling masks with a cost coming in around $100.
This is a costly investment for first-time snorkelers and as such should be avoided by those who aren’t sure if they’ll want to return to the activity.
Snorkeling After Eye Surgery
In most cases, after standard corrective eye surgery such as laser procedures or treatment for an eye problem, snorkeling or other activities are permissible.
Nonetheless, you should allow enough time for recovery and see an ophthalmologist before snorkeling to be safe.
Surgical operations that jeopardize the eye’s structural integrity or serious conditions such as Glaucoma are examples of surgical procedures that would be questionable before going back into the water.
Snorkeling is a fantastic activity for people who want to explore and experience the underwater world. One of the greatest concerns, however, is whether or not you can wear glasses while snorkeling.
The good news is that there are plenty of options available so you can still enjoy this water sport no matter what your vision needs may be!
Whether it’s one of those old-fashioned masks with corrective lenses bonded to them or just regular goggles with prescription inserts, there is a great solution just for you.
If you are looking for snorkeling gear we have a huge list of lists to help you find just the right snorkeling gear to get you up and moving, check it out here!
So don’t let poor eyesight stand in the way any longer – come check out our top gear and have some fun today!