Diving with contact lenses inserted
Diving with contact lenses female diver

- Shane Gross

Are you starting diving and using glasses? Or maybe contact lenses? You will be happy to know that you can still dive!

You might be afraid that without your glasses, you want be able to see underwater. And you’ve heard that diving with contact lenses is not an option. That is not true!

There are two ways of diving when you have visual impairment(aka use glasses or contacts): one is simply to use your contact lenses underwater on your dive, the other is using prescription masks.

Here's Survive A Silt-Out!: Diving In Low Visibility

This article will only focus on diving with contact lenses:

What Type of Lens To Use

There are two types of contact lenses: hard and soft. Both can be used for diving, however soft contact lens have more advantages. Check it out:

Hard Lenses

  • They won’t allow gas to penetrate. This might cause some blurry vision after the dive. Why does this happen? The eye absorbs nitrogen, and when you descend this nitrogen slowly escapes the eye. The hard lenses won’t allow the nitrogen to escape therefore tiny bubbles will form between the lenses and eye causing blurry vision.
  • You could experience slightly dryer eyes and have to blink more than normal.
  • Hard contacts are usually smaller and therefore the risk of them falling out is larger, when the dive mask is floated.

Hard contact lenses are not really recommended for scuba diving. Although hard lenses don’t pose medical threat, they’re just not worth the aggravation.

 

Soft Lenses

  • Allows gas to penetrate letting air pass through the lenses.
  • Eyes will not feel dry when diving.
  • When descending you will not have the same bubbly experience as using the hard lenses.
  • Soft lenses are slightly larger. If you float the mask you will be able to hold the lens inside by just closing your eyes, slightly. The eyelid will hold the lens inside.
Diving with contact lenses allowed

Choose the right contact lens for scuba diving - Credit: Svetlana Lukienko

Tell Your Buddy

You need to tell your dive buddy that your vision will be impaired in case of losing your mask or getting water in the mask.

You can’t talk underwater and if your buddy doesn’t know what’s happening to you it’ll be hard for him to help. There is also is a risk of either losing your mask when diving. If this happens you will need your buddy to help. You can’t find your mask with your eyes closed.

Always tell your buddy what can influence you on a dive and discuss what to do in case something happens!

Alternatives to diving with contact lenses

Does the thought of wearing contact lenses turn you off or bother you? Luckily there are other ways to see underwater:

  • Prescription masks can be custom made especially for your eyesight.
  • Corrective lenses can be made that fit in standard masks.
  • Small correction stickers that stick on the inside of the mask lens can be used.

Do you Use Contact Lenses?

We want to hear about your diving experiences wearing contact lenses! Give us a shout and tell us about it!

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