Ever wondered how to snorkel when wearing glasses?
Sadly, it’s not practical to simply wear your regular prescription glasses under the snorkeling mask. The frame would hardly fit under the snorkeling mask and even if you’d manage to find one that fits, the side arms would stick out of the mask, preventing the skirt of the mask to properly seal and allow water to leak in the mask. Not an option!
Still, there are other options for snorkeling if you wear glasses : it’s possible to use a regular snorkeling mask while wearing contact lenses or to refit regular glasses. Otherwise, you can buy affordable optical google, or order a dedicated snorkeling masks with lenses to your prescriptions.
To enjoy snorkeling, you need a good general vision to allow you to both swim safely and to enjoy it. After all, the point of snorkeling is to those magnificent underwater scenery and creatures. So your mid to far sight vision is the most important aspect to consider. Being nearsighted or myopic would be less an issue for snorkeling.
The story is different for scuba diving where you’d need more near sight vision to read instruments and gages. Also, scuba diving often occurs in low visibility conditions, so far sight vision is less needed in the first place.
Overall, don’t forget the natural magnifying property of a snorkel mask in water: object appears 25% larger in water than outside. So you need for vision correction may less than you think.
Snorkel with Contact Lenses
It is possible to snorkel with contact lenses. Soft contact lenses are the best for snorkeling, as they stick better to your eye. Permanent hard contact lenses will get lost more easily. Good luck finding them after they are lost!
Still, you will need to close eye anytime that water enters your mask and when clearing your mask. And their is always that possibility from having a loosing your mask from a strong push. In that case, close your eye and hope that your contact lenses are not displaced from the water flowing into your mask.
Be sure to clean your eye and your lenses with contact solution after snorkeling. That will help prevent infection in your eye. You surely don’t want that!
Nonetheless, snorkeling with contact lenses is a very practical and simple solution done routinely by casual diver. It’s probably the easiest solution.
Snorkel Using Prescription Glasses
If you’d like to use regular glasses for snorkeling, it is possible to simply remove the side arm and fit them into the mask. It is sometime possible to fit them tight into the mask. Otherwise, you can attempt at fixing them with tape for a trial. This may be easier with a full face mask.
But the killer solution is to directly bond the lenses inside the mask front lenses. It may seems odd, but the results are surprisingly good. Check you this great tutorial.
Also, it can be done quite cheaply by using your old prescription glasses or get over-the-counter reading glasses like the one found at the pharmacy. You could even get brand new cheap prescription glasses made for you by ordering online.
The downside on using glasses for snorkeling is that they can fog up, or get water drops on them easily. Check this article for some anti-fog tips. It that case, the best solution is to flood your mask and clear it after. Of course, the glasses should be well fixed to the class for that purpose.
Dive with Optical Goggles
It’s possible to buy swimming goggle from several manufactures for about 20$. Goggles are not great for snorkeling as they can’t be equalized, but it’s not a big deal if you stay on the surface.
Check out these great corrective goggles.
Dedicated Prescription Masks for Scuba Diving
Buying a mask with built-in prescription lenses is clearly the option which will give the best vision underwater.
Snorkeling masks are typically offered with single vision correction. That is, the whole mask is corrected by a single factor, let say -1.5. It is great because these masks are often in stock, can be shipped quickly and are not much more expense that their regular counterpart.
However, single vision lens masks are not ideal for people having very different correction on both eye, or in need of other corrections like astigmatism, which will not be offered off-the-shelf.
In that case, the best option is to go with a dedicated prescription dive mask. This offers the most option, but is also the most expensive. Many online shop like this one offers excellent prescriptions masks.
Extreme solution: Laser Eye surgery
Quite obviously, getting laser eye surgery will make you vision clear underwater (and above water also!). But enjoying clear vision without glasses while snorkeling might not be the prime reason for go thru surgery.
So, can you snorkel while wearing glasses or contact lenses? Sure you can enjoy the same great adventure!