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Diving With Glasses or Diving with Contact Lenses, Which One Is The Best Option?

Diving with glasses or diving with contact lenses? That is the question that divers with impaired vision are looking for to answer.

Using glasses or contact lenses to correct our vision is compatible with diving unless our doctor expressly contraindicates it. However, many of those with some loss of vision, do not know their real options to improve it underwater. As you know, water increases the size of things we see underwater, and sometimes that is enough to dive comfortably.  However, if a diver is unable to read his/her underwater pressure gauge or to see his/her dive buddy’s hand signals, they should consider correcting their vision.

In this article, we will see the options we have for diving with glasses or diving with contact lenses, so you can choose the option that best suits your needs.

Diving With Glasses Or Diving With Contact Lenses - glasses

1. Introducing Diving with Glasses

Who doesn’t remember Hugh Grant in his movie “Nothing Hill” going to the cinema with his diving glasses? To be honest, diving with glasses are a very widespread, and recommended option.

There are several options for diving with glasses. There are scuba masks with standard corrective lenses. They are ideal for the most common vision problems. You can choose to attach the corrected lenses to the tempered glass lenses of the mask or to opt for glasses with a fully customized prescription and may even include bifocals.


2. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Scuba Diving with Glasses


2.1. Diving with glasses’ advantages:

– you will have good vision during the dive;

– you will have long time span diving glasses because of they are not-scratchable and very resistant material;

–  as you can purchase the lenses separate from the mask, you can change the prescription lenses only, and not the whole mask.


2.2. Diving with glasses’ disadvantages:

– prescription lenses have an extra cost, sometimes high, depending on graduation;

– it is convenient to have a spare mask in case you lose or damage your usual one.

Diving With Glasses Or-Diving With Contact-Lenses - contact lenses

3. Turning your Mask into Dive Glasses

If you want to scuba dive with glasses, you need to get a scuba mask with prescription lenses. There are three ways to get your scuba diving glasses prescription:

  1. Adhesive prescription lenses for your scuba mask: Adhesive lenses are ideal if you only need help with close-up vision. They are like magnifying sheets that stick to the inside of the mask. However, they do not correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, or strong prescriptions. So, who are they for? They are for those with presbyopia only. These adhesive “lenses” come in powers ranging from +1 to +3 diopters. But beware, they have a small issue. You want them to stay stuck, but sometimes they become rebellious with humidity.
  2. Scuba diving masks with factory-made prescription lenses: These masks are ready for you to scuba dive with your prescription glasses, as well as for anyone with common prescriptions. That means you will only find this type of mask for very common prescriptions. If you have both nearsightedness and astigmatism at the same time, forget about it; you won’t find prescription scuba diving masks if your prescription is very high or if you need correction for both near and far vision.
  3. Custom-made prescription scuba diving masks: Custom-made prescription lenses are exclusively manufactured for your scuba mask, and they work for all types of prescriptions, regardless of the brand of diving mask you use. These lenses will fit your mask perfectly, allowing you to see clearly at all distances. However, this is the most expensive option.



4. Tips for Caring for Your Diving Glasses

Prescription scuba diving masks do not require different care than regular mask. You can read all the tips in the article How to Keep A Dive Mask From Fogging Up?

However, make sure to rinse them thoroughly with mild soap, as salt residues can scratch the lens, and dry them with the cleaning cloth provided by the optician, or you might start experiencing visibility issues while diving with glasses.

Diving With Glasses Or Diving With Contact Lenses- bucear con gafas o bucear con lentillas (2)

5. Diving with Contact Lenses

Diver’s Alert Network (DAN) recommends choosing soft contact lenses for those who prefer diving with contact lenses. As you know, there are different types of lenses. There are hard contacts and soft contacts. Soft contact lenses allow gas exchange, but hard ones do not. In this case, a diver could have blurry vision at the end of the dive. Let’s explain!

Nitrogen escapes from your eyes when you ascend. However, hard contact lenses do not allow this, and nitrogen bubbles remain between the contact lenses and the eye. In contrast, soft contact lenses let the gas out normally. On the other hand, hard contact lenses have less suction than soft ones, and it makes them easier to lose.

Another advice: close your eyes when you flood your mask or you could lose your contact lenses.


5.1. Diving with contact lenses advantages:

– it is a comfortable and fast option;

– you will be able to see properly in and out of the water;

– you do not need any extra investment. You will use your daily contact lenses.


5.2. Diving with contact lenses disadvantages:

– contact lenses dry out during diving because the blinking frequency decreases;

– it is advisable to use moisturizing drops before diving;

– you can lose the contact lenses;

– they can move into the eye due to pressure, losing visibility;

– Contacts can increase the risk of eye infection.

Diving With Glasses Or Diving With Contact Lenses- bucear con gafas o bucear con lentillas

6. Scuba Diving with Glasses vs Diving with Contact Lenses

Diving with impaired vision can be easily accommodated by diving with glasses or contact lenses. Both options have unique advantages and disadvantages, allowing divers to choose what best suits their needs and preferences.

Diving with glasses offers good underwater vision and the possibility of long-term use, thanks to scratch-resistant and durable materials. Customized prescription scuba masks provide optimal clarity at all distances, ensuring a comfortable diving experience. However, the initial cost of prescription lenses and the need for a spare mask may be a consideration.

On the other hand, diving with contact lenses presents a convenient and comfortable option for divers who prefer not to use glasses. Soft contact lenses, in particular, allow for gas exchange during ascents, preventing blurry vision at the end of a dive. Nevertheless, divers using contact lenses should be mindful of moisture loss during diving, and the possibility of losing or shifting the lenses due to pressure.

Ultimately, choosing between diving with glasses or diving with contact lenses depends on individual preferences, vision needs, and comfort levels.

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of scuba diving with glasses and diving with contact lenses, which option do you choose? Tell us on Facebook.