Can You Snorkel if You Require Glasses to See?

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Expert: Cameron – I have snorkeled for over two decades and have been a PADI certified diver for over three years. I also require prescription glasses to see and have had to come to making a decision to snorkel while everything is blurry or not at all, so am no stranger to this issue in the slightest. I acquired a solution for this about a decade ago and even though I still require glasses to see, I am able to snorkel anytime I feel like with my vision in tact.


Snorkeling can be a soothing and relaxing activity that puts you right in the middle of another world with amazing sights.

For the uninitiated, which you likely might be if you require an eye prescription, snorkeling involves exploring underwater environments using a snorkel mask and fins.

However, for those who wear glasses, the idea of snorkeling might come with challenges.

Are you able to enjoy the vibrant marine life while having to struggle with wearing glasses to snorkel?

Yes, you can still snorkel while needing glasses. There are several options from getting a prescription lensed snorkel mask made, wearing contact lenses, and even creating a DIY with an older pair of glasses and a regular snorkeling mask. While it is a barrier to entry for snorkeling, it is not something that will prevent you from snorkeling.

Are there other ways to snorkel while requiring glasses, and how do you go about achieving clear vision while vision impaired underwater?

Snorkeling While Needing Prescription Glasses

Snorkeling opens the door to a breathtaking underwater adventure, but glasses wearers often grapple with the inconvenience of impaired vision beneath the surface.

How is it possible to still use your glasses while snorkeling, and are their other options where you can still gain clear vision underwater?

Common Challenges Faced by Glasses Wearers

Woman Snorkeling with Foggy Mask
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Glasses fogging up, water leakage, and the hassle of juggling between prescription eyewear and a snorkel mask are common hurdles.

If you do not have your prescription glasses with you or are unable to use them when snorkeling, obviously your vision is a challenge as well.

Fortunately, there are a few options we can go through and you can then decide what is right for you when heading into the water.

Options for Snorkeling with Glasses

When it comes to snorkeling with glasses, several options cater to different preferences and needs.

Prescription Snorkel Masks

Prescription snorkel masks offer a tailored solution, providing corrected vision underwater.

These specialized masks come with built-in corrective lenses, matching your prescription for crystal-clear underwater vision.

This is the route I eventually decided to take, and I cannot be more happy with the results.

Glasses are should be between 14 and 24 millimeters from your eyes according to Frames Direct, and my prescription snorkel mask is adjusted with the distance of the snorkel lens to my eyes as a factor.

With this correction, I have absolutely clear vision when heading into the water to snorkel.

Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Pros of a Prescription Snorkel Mask

Crystal clear vision while snorkeling is most definitely a bonus.

When treating my snorkel mask to prevent fogging while in use I do not have any extra steps added since my mask is a stand alone unit.

No one suspects that I have had to do anything different when bringing out my snorkel mask since it looks just like everyone else’s mask so you don’t feel dumb or different.

I am also able to head into the water without thinking twice of my vision, which works out wonderfully if you are snorkeling as a last minute rendezvous before heading off to your next destination.

Cons of a Prescription Snorkel Mask

While prescription snorkel masks offer clarity, they might be pricier.

While traditional snorkel masks can range anywhere from $20 to $150 a prescription mask usually starts out at $160 for a decent quality mask and can get as high as $250 for high end models.

My mask sat around the middle at $165 at the time of purchase.

Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses during snorkeling is another viable option.

Using contact lenses while snorkeling would be a second best option if one could not afford to get a prescription snorkel mask made.

I however can not stand contact lenses so this would not be for me.

Using Contact Lenses While Snorkeling

I have known dozens of snorkelers and divers that prefer to just use their contact lens prescription when they enter the water, so I know it definitely works for some.

Read: Are You Able to Snorkel While Wearing Contact Lenses?

Cons With Using Contact Lenses While Snorkeling

I have not personally had to experience these since I cannot stand contact lenses.

However, the big issues you should be concerned with are the lens falling out and water intrusion while snorkeling.

DIY Solutions for Snorkeling While Needing Glasses

DIY
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For those seeking alternative approaches, there are DIY solutions to enhance underwater vision.

Believe it or not I have met snorkelers that have taken this approach and it works for them.

However, it’s essential to understand the associated risks.

Homemade Remedies for Improving Underwater Vision

You can take two lenses with the frames and remove the arms to attach it to your mask with resin to fit into the mask but also remain removable.

You can also permanently adhere the old pair of glasses to your snorkel mask to make for a less temporary solution.

Risks and Precautions

Some risks that I would immediately notice is that, unless positioned perfectly, the lenses would be further away from your eyes than usual.

They are not designed to be this far away from your eyes and will likely cause headaches or slight vision impairment, especially after a long snorkel session.

On top of this, you are likely going to be using an older pair of prescription glasses so they will likely be not your current vision prescription.

Finally, I could only imagine how frustrating it would be to attempt to clear out fog with the mask and glasses, especially if permanently attached.

Importance of Clear Vision Underwater

Guam Octopus

Clear vision is not just a matter of convenience but a crucial factor for safety and the full enjoyment of the underwater world.

Safety Concerns

Navigating underwater obstacles and marine life requires a clear line of sight to ensure safety for both the snorkeler and the marine environment.

You definitely want to be avoiding obstacles like abrasive coral and rock which is difficult to do without good vision.

Enjoyment of Marine Life

The vibrant colors and intricate details of underwater life can be missed without clear vision.

It is hard enough taking properly angled photos underwater, being vision impaired while snorkeling takes this difficulty into overdrive.

Summary

As we wrap up this guide, let’s recap the solutions we’ve explored for snorkeling with glasses and encourage all eyewear enthusiasts to embark on their underwater adventures.

You are still able to snorkel if you need glasses, and you have a good number of options to choose from.

My best recommendation is to order a prescription lensed snorkeling mask, but if you are not able to you can still opt for using contact lenses or a DIY prescription mask.

Pick what works best for you and jump into the wonderous world of snorkeling!


[Sources and References]

“How Should Glasses Rest on Your Face?” FramesDirect.Com, www.framesdirect.com/knowledge-center/how-should-glasses-sit-on-your-face. Accessed 24 Jan. 2024.

[Image Attribution and Licensing]

Featured Image by Leopictures from Pixabay
#1 Image by ivabalk from Pixabay
#2 Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay