Life is more enjoyable when you can see clearly. This is true on land, so why not underwater as well? Without goggles or a dive mask, even a person with perfect 20/20 vision on land has vision comparable to legal blindness underwater. This is because light is bent differently in water than it is in the air, causing it to interact with your eyes differently than on land. Goggles and dive masks work to correct your vision by creating a pocket of air through which light can pass to your eyes in a more natural way, and be focused in a way more familiar to your eyes. So, the next time you're out on a scuba or snorkeling adventure, or even just enjoying your back yard pool, consider a prescription dive mask or pair of goggles to help you see your underwater surroundings with more clarity and enjoy yourself all the more.
Lenses for both diving masks and swim goggles can be made from a number of different materials, including glass, acrylic, plastic and polycarbonate.
Which of the two, a dive mask or goggles, works best for you depends largely on preference and what you will be doing with them. Below, both are discussed to help you make a more informed decision about which is right for you.
Diving masks are generally designed for scuba diving or snorkeling. They are usually quite large and made to cover most of the face, coming across the forehead and down to almost the end of the nose, and are most often made of hypoallergenic materials such as silicone. Prescription diving masks are made either with the entire lens area as a prescription lens, or as prescription inserted between the mask face shield and your eyes on an otherwise non-prescription dive mask. Dive masks on which the entire lens is prescription are best for those who will always need a prescription while diving, while dive masks that accommodate an insert are best for those who may be wearing contacts on some dives, and not on others. Those without astigmatism can also find some dive masks that have standard prescriptions already inserted, that will allow reasonable (though not custom) vision correction underwater, while those with astigmatism will almost always require a specific prescription to correct their astigmatism.
Swim goggles are much smaller than diving masks and fit closer to the eyes, so that they are unobtrusive and are more dynamic, for racing and other activities that require a certain degree of aerodynamics. In most cases, swim goggles with standardized vision correction are adequate in situations generally associated with swim googles over dive masks, but custom lenses, such as those required to correct astigmatism, are also quite common.
For more information and to determine which type of prescription swimwear will work best for you, contact your eye doctor today!