Jeff & I want to try snorkeling when we go on our trip in March. We both wear glasses & have astigmatism. We don’t want to spend a huge amount of money on buying a special mask and then never use it again. What are your suggestions/advice? Anybody in the same position of wearing glasses and if so how did you settle this?


– Last Updated: Dec-31-09 6:35 PM EST –

..I too have astigmatism......don't worry about it....water has a way of magnifying things i have found.
Just get a proper fitting mask, make sure there's no gaps around the seal. Rule of thumb is mask on face, DO NOT wrap band around head...hold the mask lightly and inhale and hold your breath...the mask should stay on your face w/o you holding it with your hand, any air leaks will cause the mask to lose vacuum and the mask will fall off..i have a particular prob with crease lines from the corners of my nose. i have to stretch the skin to get lower rim of mask to seal properly. a divers trick is to use Vaseline, sparingly, on seal area if you have a small leak. ( sometimes it works/ sometimes not) Fogging is a bigger prob, it drove me nuts..they sell anti-fog to help keep the lenz from a good snorkel with a removable/replaceable silicone mouthpiece. they get old , yellow, and brittle after awhile.
Can i ask where you are going? Are there dive/scuba shops near you now? if there are dive shops there, that would be the best place /time to buy your gear, especially the mask. I wouldn't buy from a Wal-Mart unless they allow you to test the mask Quality's worth the $$$ , nothing ruins a trip worse or faster than junk equipment.

Go to a swim shop -corrected goggles
Swim shops sell vision corrected goggles that are not hugely expensive (about 20 bucks). You can get correction close to what you need if you have really bad eyesight. Then instead of snorkeling just use the goggles and swim with the fins. It’s not perfect but it works pretty well, my son and I used this method for impromtu diving sessions along reefs we found surfing in Kauai, we had an excellent time and saw amazing fish on the reefs and got great pictures without snorkels. If your vision is just a little blurry at a distance I would just use a mask, you can’t see all that well at a distance underwater anyway.

Correction is easy
And not very expensive. A dive shop can easily replace the standard lenses with lenses that approximate your prescription. It makes a big difference. Get your optometrist to write out your prescription for you and bring it with you.

Just go
It really depends on how bad your uncorrected vision is, but chances are that you’ll see well enough underwater with no correction at all. I do.

If you’ve got some old pairs of glasses you could pop the lenses out or take the temples off and glue them on the inside of the mask with a few drops of silicone caulk.

re: Just go…
I’m the “Jeff” my sister Kathy mentions in the OP… Over the years, my vision has actually improved to 20/400 in my better eye w/o glasses - I have very good vision for the 1st five or six inches! I’m afraid I’d scrape my belly on the reefs w/o some vision help!

Check these out ----

re: Check this out…
That’s certainly inexpensive enough, but we’re looking to snorkel. Doesn’t that require the goggles that pinch your nose?

go to a dive shop
The first question they will ask you is “do you wear glasses?”

Bring the glasses. A dive or snorkelling mask is vastly different than swimming goggles.

The fit is crucial and thats why you need a shop that offers service. Its not that the mask may need to be more expensive at all. There should be a selection of masks and sizes at the shop you visit.

Yeah but …
A snorkel is not critical you can swim on the surface and lift your head and take breaths as you go. When you dive down the snorkel does not help at all.

Call ahead ? The big rental outlets
have prescrition masks to rent already.

Goggles are good too.

Dive shop
Yep - we’re planning on going to a local dive shop tomorrow. I think Kathy has called 'em and talked a bit about it already.

Not a big rental outfit!
Kathy (the OP, my sister) seems to assume everyone reads every thread on the board and remembers everyone else…

We’re going on an Uncommon Adventure (they advertise here on pnet) to Roatan in the Honduras in March. Since they only accommodate six or so folks at a time (and the snorkeling is sort of a side-line to kayaking), they don’t have a very wide assortment of snorkeling gear. No corrective lens available there!


– Last Updated: Jan-03-10 12:46 PM EST –

Divers Direct, and other shops, sell masks for around $50 that you can pop the lenses out and replace with generics that approximate your Rx.

I am myopic and have poor vision (wait a minute -I'm myopic which CAUSES my poor vision, I should say, LOL), and I'm astigmatic as well.

I had a scrip lens but lost it when it wasn't tied down on the deck of my old Scupper Pro, and I -and all my unsecured gear -was bunted off the boat when I got T-boned on a wave crest by a well-meaning but inexperienced couple on a tandem in moving, silty water. So I dove blurry-sighted for a few years until I went down to a Divers Direct down here and saw their selection of generics.

I picked one of the replaceable-lens masks up, and it fit me comfortably -first concern: comfort! I then slipped in a couple lenses I thought came close to my scrip, tried it on -and voila -second concern: land-based vision improvement. It worked! Mask cost me around $50, each lens around $10, so the whole shebang went down for $70. So I took it diving -third concern: UV vision. Outstanding! For what it is indeed worth, I consider it money VERY well spent, even if I don't nearly dive as often as I used to -maybe 5-6 times a summer or so. Still, each time makes it worth every penny.

I can see so much significantly better UW with them, and while Sally's Rx is different from mine, they're such an improvement that, she, too, borrows and uses them when I'm not, and it's just as equally as satisfactorily sight-wise for her.

You might want to see if you can cut down/alter an old frame/lens combo to see if you can fit it into a plain mask, but I really think the generics approach is your absolute BEST case re: money vs. results/bang for buck(s).

Heck, if you ever get to the point where you're i8nterested in learning to roll (or if you already are), these will provide a better view downside up, and as you rotate about while you


-Frank in Miami

never mind then
At 20/400 uncorrected you will need to do something.

Thanks for all the replies. Jeff & I went to a dive shop this afternoon. We each bought a mask and snorkel. We both spent more than we had planned on. I had talked with Janet (at the dive shop) the other day and she said the most important thing is the fit. I had planned on trying the mask on to test the fit, ended up finding one I liked & so thats why I bought it. Jeff and I are going to have prescription optics put in our masks. We may not ever get to take a trip like this again, one of our biggest hobbies is photography and I wanted to be able to see everything and shoot it and I wanted Jeff to be able to do the same. The snorkels we bought have a device at the top of the tube so that if you go underwater completely a float goes to the top of the device shutting it off so water cant come in. Neither can air but at least you won’t get choked on incoming water. Lord willing when we get back from the trip we’ll let you know how all these gizmos worked.

Pool test and lessons
Get some basic snorkling lssons from the dive shop or test your gear in a pool before you go. You need to get confortable with your new gear, especially if you are not experienced. The mouth piece might need trimming and the fins might rub you wrong so you might want socks of booties. You’ll need to learn to clear the mask and get the fog out.

Get all this done before your trip and the pictures and fun will be even better!

Maybe These?
I use the reading lenses in my mask. Been all over the Carib with 'em. Now I see there are specific lenses for masks. Not sure there’s a difference except in price.