Snorkeling With Glasses: Yes or Not?

Snorkeling is one of the most enjoyable and accessible ways to experience the underwater world’s splendor. You connect with nature, stay fit, breathe fresh air. And yes, it’s all fun and games….until you try snorkeling with goggles. It’s not pleasant to have water leaking into your mask.

And how can you enjoy the beauty of underwater world in the Caribbean reef (one of the world’s largest reefs) if you’re blind as a bat without your glasses?

Let’s try to find some options.

prescription lenses

Is it really necessary to wear glasses when snorkeling?

First and foremost, we may be getting ahead of ourselves if you simply have a minor eyesight problem, and here’s answer: water increases the appearance of objects by 25%.

prescription mask

And this is a true. Water and glass have nearly identical optical characteristics, and light diverges when it travels through the mask’s lens into the air. This is why things appear bigger in the water than they do on land.

If you don’t have a major vision impairment, it’s a good idea to try snorkeling without goggles before investing in an expensive prescription mask or attempting a crazy DIY, because the ocean may naturally correct your eyesight.

 But if you always have that blurry vision under water, can only guess far away things at the coral reef and wonder how snorkeling with glasses can work well in the long run?

It’s nice that there are still other people on this earth who have to deal with this problem 🙂

Welcome to the club of moles. But I can reassure you, because luckily you can quickly take the wind out of this problem’s sails.

wear glasses

I can still remember it well. From above, I think I scanned the reef thoroughly, but my friends had always spotted everything before I did. I wondered what the reason for this was – it was actually my eyes.

But now it’s finally over. The most camouflaged turtle can now be recognized at a distance of 1km and you can no longer hide from my newly discovered eyesight even on a coral reef.

That’s how it should be 🙂

Then let’s bring your usual eagle eyes back to life, so you don’t have to do without anything underwater when snorkeling with goggles.

Colorful corals, exotic fish and another underwater world: good vision is also important under water, but correcting refractive errors while diving or snorkeling is not always easy. A specialized optician can provide individual advice.

Is it possible to dive with glasses or contact lenses?

There are many options for divers who wearing contact lenses. While some hobbies, such as flying a combat jet, necessitate flawless vision, scuba diving is not one of them. Divers who are visually challenged have a range of choices for seeing underwater.

soft contact lenses

Is it possible to dive and snorkeling with glasses or contact lenses? It is not possible for a diver to wear glasses while diving. It is recommended that you wear corrective lenses mounted on your mask or contact lenses.

A diver must be able to see well underwater for his safety.

The magnifying effect (30% magnification) of water has the advantage of correcting some of the vision problems of divers. Therefore, if discomfort is slight at the surface, it should not be a problem underwater.

On the other hand, a diver must be able to see his buddy, recognize his dive guide (even at about 10 meters in clear water) and read his safety instruments such as the pressure gauge and dive computer.

If not and if the visibility in the water is good, you should consider looking for a solution to the blurry vision problem, such as a corrective mask or contact lenses.

Is it possible to wear glasses under the mask?

No, a diver couldn’t wear his regular prescription glasses underwater because the frame of the glasses prevents the mask’s skirt from waterproofing the diver’s face (and avoid water leaks).

The other problem is the discomfort caused by the goggle frame on the diver’s ears and nose. Instead, some divers wear masks with prescription lenses or corrective lenses.

wearing soft contact lenses

Prescription masks with corrective lenses

Do you have a unique vision issue?

Here’s what you can do if none of the existing solutions on the market operate for you.


prescription snorkel masks

You can replace the non-magnifying lenses with your prescription by mailing both your mask and your prescription to a dive store or an optician who deals in prescription snorkel masks for snorkeling.

Prescription diving masks can be made by most opticians for farsighted, nearsighted or astigmatic vision, as well as reading and bifocal lenses.

Obviously, this is not the cheapest option, but if you are a frequent diver or snorkeler, it is one of the best investments you can make. Before customizing the snorkel mask, check sure it suits your face well.

Masks with prescription lenses are available from most scuba diving equipment manufacturers. The regular lenses on some over-the-counter masks can be removed and replaced with corrective lenses.

This can be done by ordering them online or by visiting a store. If a diver uses a corrected mask, it is important to pack and protect your regular glasses for the boat and to buy a second mask for your eyesight.

snorkel mask

During long dive trips, losing a mask with these lenses mounted on it is not only costly, but can ruin the dive trip.

Pre-made prescription snorkel goggles, on the other hand, have two major drawbacks: they can be rather expensive, and most pre-made prescription masks for snorkeling will have the same prescription in each eye.

Pre-made magnification masks may not work for you if your eyes require a drastically different prescription or if you have an exceptionally high prescription.

Could I wear contact lenses?

Scuba diving with contact lenses rarely causes issues, according to the Diver’s Alert Network (DAN). Hard or gas permeable lenses, on the other hand, are not recommended for diving since they might cause substantial eye pain if the pressure between the lens and the eye is not balanced.

snorkel mask

My advice would be to choose another solution and there are some available.

If you wear lenses during dives, the diver must ensure that his eyes are closed when filling or emptying his mask to to stay away from losing or embarrassingly moving the contact lenses.A diver which use lenses might also think about carrying drops to hydrate his eyes after the dive.

In the exceedingly rare instance that contact lenses become severely adhered to the eyes owing to pressure, the drops/saline will help.

In addition, there are some general rules for snorkeling when you wear contact lenses. Keep in mind that you should always keep your eyes closed if you remove your mask in the water or if the mask is flooded, otherwise you could lose your lenses and they could be damaged by the salt water.

If you are prone to eye infections, ideally use only daily disposable lenses or at least rinse your eyes and contact lenses with clean water once you’re done. Disinfection is a must when you wear contact lenses.

Progressive lenses for diving

Small adhesive magnifiers are available for diving masks for divers who use reading glasses to clearly differentiate small print (such as numbers on a pressure gauge).

To make a bi-focal diving mask, place one of these lenses in the lower half of the mask lenses.

That there are lens designs that incorporate these pre-corrected lenses.

snorkel mask

Is it possible to dive after eye surgery in prescription snorkel mask?

Diving is possible after most eye surgeries. However, before diving, the diver must allow time for the eyes to fully recover, which varies from one surgery to another and from one diver to another.

It is important to confirm with a qualified physician that it is safe to resume scuba diving. On the other hand, any surgery or disease that compromises the structural integrity of the eye may be a contraindication to scuba diving (e.g.: ablation, glaucoma).

prescription snorkel mask

These surgeries or conditions can weaken the eye. Once again, if there is any doubt, you should seek the advice of a competent doctor in the field.

Things to remember for persons with weak vision should not have any problems with scuba. Underwater vision can be corrected with soft lenses, correction masks, and bifocal adhesive lenses.

In most circumstances, a diver who has had corrective eye surgery can dive safely if he or she has confirmed with their doctor that their eyes are fully healed.

Allowing bad vision to prevent you from viewing the undersea world is a mistake.


The most elegant solution for good underwater vision is offered by soft contact lenses worn together with diving goggles or masks. But there are also good options for inveterate spectacle wearers, so that you don’t have to dive as a blind fish.

prescription snorkel mask 3

For ametropic divers, the optician is in any case the better contact than the diving or sports shop – unless these stores work together with a specialist. Some opticians specialize in sports optics in all its facets or even exclusively in diving optics and can provide comprehensive advice on optical diving masks or swimming goggles with a corrective effect.

After all, a diving mask that has not been professionally fitted not only carries the risk that people with defective vision simply do not see quite optimally when diving. Errors in the correction values are more noticeable under water, which affects orientation as well as the correct reading of the dive computer or tank level indicator.

Nowadays, eyeglass wearers have three different options to choose from:

  • wear contact lenses under the snorkel mask
  • the snorkel mask for spectacle wearers
  • the diving goggles with prescription lenses

Ultimately, it is up to your own discretion which of the above three options suits you best. However, I can recommend all three without reservation.

Snorkeling with glasses

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