For years, glasses wearers have been wondering if they could wear their prescription glasses under their snorkel mask while snorkeling. After all, what is the point of snorkeling if the beautiful underwater sights are more like a blurry blotch of colors?
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t to simply wear the masks over your spectacles. The glasses frame gets in the way, specifically the temples of the frame. So, unfortunately you cannot wear your glasses while snorkeling because you couldn’t form a watertight seal over your face.
In a traditional snorkel mask, this issue has been largely solved with the invention of prescription snorkel masks – masks that have had their original lenses replaced with prescription lenses. There are some other, cheaper options, such as wearing contact lenses or attaching bonded corrective lenses (glued on prescription lenses essentially) with the existing lens.
That said, most of the solutions that worked with the traditional snorkel mask are incompatible with a full face snorkel mask. You could still wear contacts with a full face mask, but it has its downsides that some people don’t want to deal with.
Thankfully, there are at least two companies that have presented viable solutions for glasses wearers that want to wear a full face mask. The solution is known as the optical lens support, which is essentially a pair of glasses that can be suctioned to the inside of a full face mask.
These optical lenses are essentially the glasses frame with the temples removed, so that they don’t interfere with the mask seal. You will still need to fit them with corrective lenses, as the frame itself is just to hold the lenses in place.
In this article, we will be going over these new options that are now available for glasses wearers to try out, as well as some other options that can allow you to be able to see underwater.
Optical lens support for full face snorkel masks
Companies like Ninja Shark and Ocean Reef now offer optical lens support for their full face snorkel masks. They are an optional accessory that can be attached or removed from a full face mask as needed.
They work exactly like a pair of glasses worn inside a full face mask should by securing firmly onto the silicone skirt of the mask, holding the glasses frame and optical lens in place so that you can see clearly underwater.
Keep in mind that these glasses do not provide additional protection; they are not work goggles that can withstand strong impacts. They are only designed to be secured in place so that they do not shift and so that your vision can be corrected to an acceptable degree.
To expand on the previous sentence, the optical lens support can be fitted with generic optical lenses that closely match, but aren’t exactly the same as your prescription glasses. You may be able to get lenses that fit your exact prescription, but they would be custom lenses that would surely cost a pretty penny.
Thus, generic optical lenses are not intended for use while driving, reading, or doing anything besides snorkeling. You should not be using them for more than two hours a day or they may cause severe eye strain.
Ask your local dive shop or contact these companies directly to figure out how you can get yourself a pair of optical lens support for your full face snorkel mask.
Wearing contact lenses with a full face mask
Unless you snorkel very frequently to justify investing in optical lens support for your full face mask, you could instead just wear contact lenses as a cheaper solution instead.
This is a controversial option because contacts aren’t designed for use in the water. If saltwater manages to get inside the contact lens, the bacteria and viruses can linger on the lens and cause an eye infection.
There is also a risk of water simply flushing out your contacts. If your eyesight is poor enough to pose a safety risk and you suddenly lose your contacts, it can create a dangerous situation that you don’t want to be caught up in.
With that said, if you know these downsides, then there are ways to work around it.
For instance, if you know that saltwater will contaminate your contact lens, then you should wear daily contacts and get rid of your contacts as soon as you’re done snorkeling. Do not try to “clean” the lens with contact solution because the bacteria will still linger on it.
Also, if your mask is watertight and you don’t remove it for the entire session, then there’s no reason why water would ever enter the mask and reach your contacts. Just don’t take off your mask for no reason, and learn how to keep it from fogging up.
Plus, maybe you don’t have the budget for some fancy optical lens support, but contacts are a cheap and effective solution that you can easily use in the short term.
Unless you plan on snorkeling a lot, it’s hard to justify buying a pair of glasses that can only be used for one activity, whereas contacts are versatile enough to be used in your daily life and you probably have some at home already.
That said, the risk of eye infection and irritation is much higher when wearing contacts while snorkeling, so you do so at your own discretion.
DIY prescriptions glasses for full face masks
If you already have an old pair of glasses lying around that you don’t mind sacrificing, check out this video below to learn how you can make your own optical lens support.
Traditional snorkel masks move aside, now full face snorkel masks can also be worn by glasses wearers with the invention of the optical lens support.
Rather than replace the lens of the mask itself, an optical lens support is like a regular pair of glasses with the temples removed so that it can fit securely inside the full face mask.
You don’t even need to get lenses with your exact prescription, as you can get generic optical lenses that are close enough to your actual prescription. However, you can also get them fitted with lenses that match your exact prescription, but it’ll cost more.
If this option is out of your budget, you can go with the not-recommended-but-still-often-used method of simply snorkeling with contact lenses. Either way, glasses wearers can snorkel with a full face snorkel mask if they really want to.
Last update on 2021-10-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API