Prescription lens snorkeling mask
February 20, 2018 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I'd love to go snorkeling! However, I wear glasses (for near-sightedness), and I'm unable to wear contact lenses. I'd therefore consider buying a snorkeling mask with a prescription lens. I'm a total amateur and would use such a mask very rarely, so not looking to spend a lot. Any tips on where to buy? Thanks!
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell to Shopping (14 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My local optician has catalogs for products they don't carry in-store but that they've been happy to let me browse though - things like prescription swim goggles and binoculars with eye-pieces designed to work well with eyeglasses. Wouldn't surprise me at all if those catalogs also carry prescription snorkel masks, and your optician could probably give you an idea of the reputation of the manufacturers.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 10:10 AM on February 20, 2018

I’ve bought 5.0+ swim goggles for myself. Not 100% my prescription, but close enough for underwater and over water work (keeping an eye on my kids). About $30 on Amazon.
posted by tilde at 10:30 AM on February 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

I recently went snorkeling at a popular vacation destination. Not expecting much, I asked if they had a mask that might fit over my (small, rimless) glasses. They said, "No, but we have prescription masks; what's your prescription?" This was at a non-high-end shop. They rent boogie-boards, bikes; sell sunglasses, etc., in the village shopping center. $5 a day. Maybe call ahead?
posted by at at 10:31 AM on February 20, 2018

We rented them, but liked them so much we bought some. It wasn't cheap though.

I also have prescription swim goggles for the pool and those were cheap.

They come with the same rx per side, so I bought two pair and reassembled them into two correct pair for my mismatched eyes.
posted by advicepig at 10:46 AM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I went to a dive shop with my prescription and they had a mask and were able to pop the right lenses in in a few minutes. Don't remember what it cost but it wasn't as much as I thought it was going to be.
posted by bondcliff at 10:58 AM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I've bought prescription swim goggles from here, and my son loves them.

I've also seen this recommended, but I don't have personal experience with them.
posted by whoiam at 10:59 AM on February 20, 2018

Agreeing with others that snorkel/surf gear rental shops often have masks with some levels of lens correction in them. It won't exactly match but it might be good enough depending on your eyes.
posted by joan_holloway at 11:32 AM on February 20, 2018

About 7 years ago I got a prescription swim mask from these people that I'm happy with:

Athletic Optics
(877) 539-1775

It cost $40, I don't know if that's a lot or not.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 11:39 AM on February 20, 2018

Thirding rental. I've only snorkeled in Hawaii, but each rental place has had prescription mask offerings which were a pretty decent match for my fairly strong prescription.
posted by Kriesa at 11:50 AM on February 20, 2018

Nthing rental at your destination if you don't plan to use them often, unless there is a big discrepancy between eyes in your correction. But yes, you can also get them on Amazon, no problem.
posted by potrzebie at 4:59 PM on February 20, 2018

If you're only slightly short sighted, you might find that the refractive index of water means that you can actually see without any correction. Worth borrowing a pair of googles from someone and trying it out in the local pool if your prescription is low. Doesn't do anything for astigmatisms though.
posted by kjs4 at 5:06 PM on February 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I am actually extremely nearsighted and have found that underwater with a regular swim mask on, I don't even notice that I'm nearsighted. The biggest problem is going from the water's entry point to where I've left my glasses, and then finding my glasses. :) I go snorkeling so rarely (once every couple of years) that I haven't bothered to get a prescription mask yet, although I've considered it.
posted by telophase at 10:38 AM on February 21, 2018

Professional scuba instructor here: visit a Local dive shop near you before you go. Many shops have reasonable masks with pop in lenses for most common prescriptions. Give it plenty of time in case they need to special order anything. I've never heard of or worked anywhere destination-wise that rented Rx masks so that is rarer than you think, but call ahead where you're going to be sure.

Also depending on your Rx you may find you don't need it as water is a natural magnifier. Again, local dive shop with a pool may be able to allow you to come hang out in the water during a scuba class and you can borrow/try a non-Rx mask and see what you can see.

A good fitting mask can make or break a good snorkel experience. Local dive shops will work with you to get what you need to have an awesome time. They don't care that you're only snorkeling.

Feel free to MeMail me, I work with a lot of US-based shops all over the country and might have a recommendation for your area.
posted by danapiper at 3:25 AM on February 22, 2018

Thanks to a tip from danapiper, I wound up going to Leisure Pro, which has a location in Manhattan. There I bought a mask from Body Glove, which makes masks that cover various ranges of prescription strength, for about $60. The gradations were something like "mild," "medium," and "strong"—I went with medium, which worked very well. Most people will definitely not need something in their exact prescription.

So if you are nearsighted and the joys of snorkeling have been denied to you, I highly recommend checking out an option like this. I also would caution against assuming or hoping that the shop at your vacation destination will be able to meet your needs—the place I went (in Huatulco, Mexico) definitely would not have been able to help me. Really glad I brought my own! The view was spectacular.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 11:39 AM on March 25, 2018

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