Diving With Poor Vision
In our experience, many beginner scuba divers believe that they are able to wear a pair of standard glasses under their diving mask. Unfortunately, as convenient as it would be to do this, it is not possible. The silicone skirt of the mask would not seal at the sides of the face, due to the arms of the glasses that rest around the ears. Even if these did not cause an issue, the nosepiece of the glasses would be pressed against the bridge of the diver’s nose with the pressure underwater.
But, don’t be dismayed, this does not mean that you will never be able to see perfectly underwater. There are a variety of options to help you see clearly underwater and assist your vision impairment.
If your eyesight is only a mild problem then it is quite possible for the natural underwater magnification to allow you to see quite clearly and enjoy the underwater scenery. When we go diving, objects appear to be closer than what they actually are.
It may be a better option for you to wear soft contact lenses while you go diving. This is especially a favourable option for those who generally wear contacts and are already familiar with using them. If you are just taking a PADI Discover Scuba Diver Course and you are not sure whether you will wish to continue with learning to dive, then contact lenses are also a preferred choice. There is not much point in splashing out on a dive mask with optical lenses only to find out that scuba diving is not the sport for you! Bear in mind that diving with hard or gas permeable contact lenses are not recommended for diving due to eye suction with increased pressure underwater. If you choose to wear contact lenses while diving, you should close your eyes while doing a mask flood or mask removal so you ensure the lenses don’t accidentally wash away.
There are scuba diving masks on the market that have prescription optical lenses available for pre-order. These are recommended for the avid diver who has poor vision and sees very badly without wearing glasses or contact lenses.
If you have had some kind of corrective eye surgery, you should wait for your eyes to completely heal before attempting to get back in the water. Check with your doctor first; make sure you get the ‘all clear.’
Remember, poor vision does not have to stop you from discovering the underwater world. If your vision impairment is only slight, you should be able to go diving without any issues. Just check that you can read your diving gauges and the hand signals of your diving buddy. If this is not possible, consider a prescription mask or contact lenses to improve your vision underwater.