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Reviewed by Scuba Divers:

The Best Prescription Dive Masks in 2019

Z

Our divers at work

We gave our dive geeks one job:
Test all the different Diving Masks and write reviews of the best.

The result is 4 of the best Diving Masks on the market today.

torben lonne

Torben Lonne

Water lover and editor Torben is a diving and snorkeling nut, with a passion for the ocean.

How divers rate us:

It’s an unfortunate fact, but we are not all blessed with twenty-twenty vision. Divers who are near or farsighted will discover that the world below the surface can seem a bit fuzzy.

Yet your enjoyment of diving shouldn’t be spoiled because you’re constantly squinting to focus on the reef or struggling to read your computer and gauges. You want to be able to see the elusive shark or eagle ray out in the blue that your buddy is crazily signaling you about.

Help is at hand so you can experience perfect clarity when diving. With a prescription scuba diving mask, you can continue pursuing your passion for the underwater world—and seeing it clearly.

Many reputable companies now offer the option of having corrective lenses put in when purchasing a scuba mask. Before we look at some of the masks available, let’s go over a few things you should know before buying a prescription scuba mask.

Top 4 Prescription Masks

If your diving experience is marred by everything looking blurred around you, a prescription scuba mask could be the solution. Below are three affordable options currently on the market. We’ve also included a prescription snorkeling mask for those who’d rather stay on the surface.

Promate Optical Corrective Dive Mask

This low-volume mask comes with a liquid silicone strap and skirt for extra comfort and fit. The design is best for divers with medium sized faces. There are loads of colors to choose from and a wide range of lens strengths available. This mask is a great option offering excellent features for divers on a budget.
promate optical corrective dive mask
We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Promate Optical Corrective Dive Mask:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Corrective Lenses Available:
  • Farsighted: +1.0 to +5.0
  • Nearsighted: -1.0 to -10.0
  • Bifocal: +1.0 to +4.0
What we like:
  • Large range of prescriptions available.
  • Comfortable.
  • Lots of colors to choose from.
  • Affordable price.
What we don't like:
  • Not great from those with narrow or larger faces.
  • The bifocals have a segment line separating the two sections.
  • Somewhat bulky design.

Promate Pro Slender Purge Mask and Snorkel Combo Set (Snorkeling Mask)

Here’s an option for the snorkellers among us. This Promate snorkeling mask comes with a built-in purge for easy clearing. A channel along the base of the skirt directs bubbles away keeping your field of vision clear. The high-quality silicone used in the skirt is very flexible and molds to the face for a good seal. Attached directly onto the skirt, the buckles swivel and adjust to your movements.

The combo set includes a dry-top snorkel.

promate pro slender purge mask and snorkel combo set
We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Promate Pro Slender Purge Mask and Snorkel Combo Set (Snorkeling Mask):
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Corrective Lenses Available:
  • Farsighted: +1.0 to +4.0
  • Nearsighted: -1.0 to -10.0
What we like:
  • Purge valve.
  • Stylish design.
  • Good fit for most face shapes.
  • Excellent quality silicone used in the skirt and strap.
What we don't like:
  • No bifocal corrective lenses are available.
  • The thin strap may get displaced easily.

IST Search

Hypoallergenic liquid silicone gives the skirt a soft feel and offers a snug fit on every dive. The low-volume design offers a good range of vision while swivel buckles and a split strap give additional comfort and are easy to adjust.

If you’re early on in your diving adventure, the IST Optical Corrective mask is a great addition to your dive bag.

ist search corrective mask
We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the IST Search:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Corrective Lenses Available:
  • Farsighted: +1.0 to +4.0
  • Nearsighted: -1.0 to -8.0
What we like:
  • Simple yet durable design.
  • Fits most face sizes including narrow. Good option for younger divers.
  • Reasonably priced making it a great option for carrying as a spare.
What we don't like:
  • No bifocal option.
  • The frame between the lenses can dig into the forehead.
  • The split strap is flimsy and twists easily.

Tilos Universal

Tilos has been a popular choice for corrective scuba masks for a number of years but their Universal is an industry game changer because it’s now easy to replace or change the lenses yourself. The mask itself comes in a wide variety of colors and either black or clear silicone.

The fit is great and the frame is sturdy. It’s a reliable mask that won’t let you down.

tilos universal corrective mask
We've done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Tilos Universal:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Corrective Lenses Available:
  • Full range of near and farsighted lenses available as well as bifocal options. When purchasing online, just let Tilos know your prescription or email them.
What we like:
  • Simple yet functional design.
  • DIY option so you can easily remove and replace your own lenses.
  • Well-known and trusted brand.
  • Fits most face sizes including narrow.
  • Great value for money.
  • Wide selection of colors and comes in both black and clear silicone.
What we don't like:
  • The nose pocket runs on the smaller side.

What to Consider When Buying a Prescription Scuba Mask

As scuba divers, we want to see all the beauty that’s below the surface. Prescription masks offer you crystal-clear vision without any hassle.

Do I Need a Prescription Scuba Mask?

As divers, we’re aware that when we wear a mask, everything looks 25 percent closer and larger because of refraction. If you wear glasses on land that only correct your sight by a small amount, you may not need a prescription mask.

As a general rule of thumb, if you require glasses to drive then you should correct your vision for diving. The exception to this rule is if you use reading glasses. You may not need them for driving, but you will need some correction so that you can read your gauges and computer.

Premade or Custom-Made?

When buying a prescription mask, you need to order the correct corrective lens based on your current glasses or contact lens prescription. Masks usually come with premade lenses available in optical factor increments of 0.5. If your prescription is +3.75, you have to decide whether to order +3.5 or +4.0.

Ordering custom-made lenses means that you do not have to make the decision to go higher or lower. They are tailored to your exact prescription requirements. However, this comes at a price as custom-made prescription masks are always more expensive.

For recreational divers, the premade lens option will be more than sufficient to have you seeing clearly underwater. If you are a diving professional and in the water more regularly, then you may want to consider investing in custom-made lenses.

Bifocal Lenses

Known as gauge readers, these lenses are for those who need help when reading. They are plain glass with a small corrective area in the lower section of the window. This is where you look when glancing down at your gauges or computer. Bifocal lenses may take some getting used to when you first start using them, but they are worth it in the end.

Tempered Glass

Finally, be sure to buy a mask with tempered glass. You don’t want to make the mistake of buying a prescription snorkel mask that won’t stand up to the increased pressure at depth.

Prescription Mask or Contact Lenses?

In the past, divers with poor eyesight could only enjoy the underwater realm while wearing contact lenses under their masks. This is a simple, cheap option but is it really practical?

Contact lenses seem like a good option. But what happens if your mask floods? To avoid losing your lenses, you have to dive with your eyes closed, even if momentarily. And if you do lose your lenses, the rest of your dive will be a blur.

Soft contacts are also known to absorb some of the chemicals used in defogging agents which can cause irritation. They also increase your chances of contracting an infection if bacteria in the water gets trapped under your lens.

Some divers do prefer lenses and a regular mask, for others, a prescription dive mask is far preferable.

Prescription Swim Mask Vs. Prescription Scuba Mask

There is a very good reason why myopic and presbyopic divers should buy a prescription scuba mask instead of a prescription swimming mask. A swimming mask completely seals around the eyes only. A diving mask seals around the eyes but also encloses the nose.

As you go deeper, pressure affects the air pockets in the mask, squeezing it against your face. With the nose enclosed in the mask, divers can exhale, adding extra air to the pocket and equalizing the pressure. If you were at depth with a swimming mask, the squeeze would cause extreme pain.

Prescription swim masks may seem like a cheaper option but they are definitely not a good choice for divers. For more information on what to look for when buying a mask for scuba diving, check out our full guide.

Looking for a Frameless Prescription Mask for Scuba Diving?

If you need a prescription mask, you’re better off with a framed design as there are more options out there. But if you’ve got your heart set on a frameless prescription mask, there are two specialist US-based manufacturers that we know of: Scuba Optics, and Prescription Dive Masks.

Before we wrap things up, we’d also like to give a shout out to the Tusa Liberator+. It’s a good, reliable mask and a dive center favorite. Lenses for it can be purchased separately here.

If your prescription scuba mask has given you the clear view you always dreamed of we would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us in the comments below.

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1 Comment

  1. MRO

    Tqvm ! The article helped me a lot .

    Reply

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