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A few months ago a friend was telling me how concerned he was about diving with increasingly poor eyesight, to the point where he was thinking of cancelling an upcoming Red Sea trip.
“To be honest, I think I’ll probably see quite well there as the water’s pretty bright and clear,”
he told me,
“but wreck diving here in the UK is almost impossible with my eyesight and I’m worried that now I won’t see much in the Red Sea either.”
Being blessed with 20:20 vision (at least for a few more years!) and not having done anything more than snorkelling off Benidorm, I couldn’t really empathise that well.
He just scoffed at my naive idea of wearing glasses under a diving mask. How was I to know that a mask just won’t seal around the arms? Or that you need a good seal to keep air in and water out?
But I ploughed on, safe in the knowledge that having to explain a problem to a simpleton sometimes helps to solve it. So the next stupid question I asked was about wearing contact lenses.
“Two problems” he said, “the first is that if your mask floods you can lose a lens, then suddenly you’re underwater and can’t see properly, bit of a safety risk.”
Pausing long enough to give me his trademark withering look, he went on:
“the second is that you can get infections; open water is full of nasty things that can get in, particularly with soft lenses as they’re more porous.”
Now, I might know nothing about diving or glasses, but I do have a smartphone with an internet connection (it’s a Windows phone, so it’s not very good, but that’s another story). So after a quick browse, I asked:
“what about a prescription diving mask?”
That stumped him, because he’d never heard of one, and he clearly wasn’t expecting me to come up with any good ideas.
We took a look together and it turned out there are a number of options:
Stick-on lenses are great as a first step, to see if you can get on with a prescription mask but, being stick-on they can come loose so they aren’t really a good long-term solution. They can even be bi-focal, although that isn’t what my friend was looking for.
Then you’ve got full prescription mask lenses, that can either be set into a removable insert (great if you think you’ll have to change your prescription in the near future) or permanently fitted.
To cut a long story short my friend bought a prescription diving mask with prescription lenses from Prescription Swimming Goggles and went on holiday as planned.
“It was incredible,”
he told me when he got back,
“I probably could have managed without, but everything was clearer and so much more vivid, I didn’t realise what I’d been missing out on.”
“The detail was just …. mesmerising, I’ve already booked a holiday in Sardinia for next year and started a saving plan for the Maldives, hopefully the following year – it’s like a whole new start for diving, it’s brilliant!”
I decided that was as close to a thank you as I was going to get, and went to get the next round in.
My friend went to Prescription Swimming Goggles to get his mask; you can get prescription swimming goggles, spares and accessories from there too.
Why not take a look yourself?
Feature writer Chris Hogan
This featured article is editorial sponsored by Prescription Swimming Goggles
Tel: 0330 660 0796
Open 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday
Ever wondered how you can check a diving mask fits and won’t leak before actually getting in the water? Here is how.
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