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Earth’s Tectonic Plates with Prescription ScubaPro Dive Mask

Scuba Diver in dry suitin clear water in Iceland with a scuba pro d mask with lenses installed by See the Sea RX

Diving in Iceland

Iceland, the land of fire and ice, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, from towering glaciers to majestic waterfalls. While I spent much of last year in England, I was able to find a deal on last minute flights to Iceland with the idea of exploring Iceland’s hidden gem for adventure seekers: scuba diving between the tectonic plates in water a degree or two away from freezing. While my flights were inexpensive, Iceland as a whole is expensive (something to definitely keep in mind). Packed with my scuba pro d mask and prescription lenses installed in our lab in Houston and a bunch of warm clothes, I was able to get a quick feel for Iceland’s tourism. The trip was a great experience, but I am not in a rush to return (I am, primarily, a spoiled warm water diver). In this blog, I will fill you in on my trip- things to do in Iceland, and some considerations for dive masks in cold water.

Just for context, my trip was in January/February 2024.

Scuba Diver in dry suitin clear water in Iceland with a scuba pro d mask with lenses installed by See the Sea RX
In the cold clear water in Silvia with my custom prescription lens scuba pro mask.

Scuba Diving Between Tectonic Plates

One of the most exhilarating experiences Iceland has to offer is diving at the Silfra Fissure in Thingvellir National Park. There are two main options: Snorkeling in a dry suit (no certification required) or you can dive through the fissure. You are required to have both a dive certification as well as a dry suite certification to participate. The water hovers around 35 degrees year round.

The outing to Silfra cost near $300 including transport from the hotel as well as all equipment. You can bring your own equipment if you wish, but be sure your regulators are serviced and intended for cold water use. I did bring my prescription scuba mask as well as the Sealife phone case which I have been using more than my traditional dive camera set up on these quick trips. All the pics I took were on my Iphone (14 pro max at the time) using the Sealife case.

 

The dive is short, about 30 minutes and led in small groups with a certified instructor.

 

Overall it is a unique once in a lifetime experience.

Cold water prescription scuba mask concerns


Some divers contact us wondering if our prescription dive masks will work in near freezing or freezing water temperatures. As you can see with my mask, they hold up well. A few things you can do to prevent damage to the lenses: Try to acclimate the mask to surrounding/water temp before submerging. Going between extreme temperatures can cause the laminate to fracture.

Non diving Iceland Activities

While scuba diving between tectonic plates is a highlight of any trip to Iceland, the country offers an array of other activities in which to indulge:

  1. Golden Circle Tour: Discover Iceland’s iconic sights, including the mighty Gullfoss waterfall, the geothermal wonders of Geysir, and the historic site of Thingvellir National Park. I did not have time to take part in one of the Golden Circle Tours, but they remain one of the more popular options.

 

  1. Glacier Hiking: Strap on crampons and traverse the otherworldly landscapes of Iceland’s glaciers. Guided tours provide insight into glaciology while offering stunning views of ice formations.

 

  1. Whale Watching: Set sail from Reykjavik or Husavik for a chance to spot majestic whales, including humpbacks, orcas, and blue whales, in their natural habitat.

 

  1. Northern Lights Hunting: During the winter months, chase the elusive aurora borealis across Iceland’s dark skies for a mesmerizing display of dancing colors. I missed out on seeing the northern lights the one night I went out. The tour does offer a voucher to try again within a year or two, but it is unlikely I will be back. This was also not a favorite of mine as the first half hour of the tour was picking up other tourists at other hotels (and thirty to forty five minutes of drop offs at the end) and then driving around in a mini bus to locations which may offer the chance to view the lights. The tour staff were friendly, but I would probably find another way of doing this if I was to go again. 

 

  1. Relax in Hot Springs: Unwind in Iceland’s geothermal pools and hot springs, such as the iconic Blue Lagoon or the secluded Secret Lagoon, surrounded by stunning landscapes. I chose to go to Sky Lagoon which is a bit newer and located a little closer to the center of Reykjavik. My pictures of Sky Lagoon are seen on the right.
A view of outside the sky lagoon center in SIlfra. Water is seen in the horizon. A sign is in front of the building.
Horizon seen over warm water in Sky Lagoon.
Picture of Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and rebreather diver- he has been involved in diving for more than 20 years. He has also worked as a sergeant at the Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Office, which included time as the instructor for the dive team. Josh also holds a masters degree in data analytics from Texas A&M.

Single Lens Dive Mask and Prescription Lenses

Single lens dive masks such as the scuba pro gorilla mask, atomic aquatics venom (& venom frameless) have become increasingly popular with divers due to their increased field of view as well as offering comfort for some divers with more

Read More »

Reading Lens Options for Scuba Masks

Trouble seeing your gauges? As we age, we lose the elasticity of the lens of our eye, which makes focusing on closer objects more difficult. Presbyopia, as this condition is called, can be frustrating on land, but for us scuba

Read More »

How much is a prescription dive mask?

How much does a prescription dive mask cost? One of the most frequent questions we receive is how much does a prescription dive mask cost. Prescription dive masks can run between $100 to slightly over $500. Factors such as lens

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Prescription Dive Masks for Strong Plus (Farsighted) Lenses

My glasses are thick- can I even go diving?

For those of us with very strong prescriptions or optical corrections, when we learn to dive there is excitement and then a moment of panic about how we are going to be able to see while underwater with a snorkeling or diving mask. There is good news. See the Sea can make dive masks in any prescription (yes even yours), and we have not turned away a single diver since we started for prescription strength limits (including lenses with over 20 diopters).

I have previously written articles on prescription scuba diving mask considerations for those with strong prescriptions, but in today’s article, I want to focus on those with strong plus prescriptions.

Due to varieties in masks: depths of lens pockets or lens size, certain masks work better for stronger prescriptions than others, specifically when talking about corrective lenses (bifocals or distance lenses) for those with spherical equivalents over +4.00. The wrong mask choice can lead to the lenses contacting the diver’s face and even causing pain. As a reminder, you can order a mask with lenses from us, or you can send us your mask to have lenses installed. Either way, if your prescription is over +4.00, these are the factors to consider in a dive mask:

 

  • Good lens pocket depth. We want the lenses to have some distance from the face to minimize the risk of lenses contacting the divers face.

  • Smaller overall lens size. The smaller the lenses, generally the thinner we can produce the prescription lens for your dive mask.

  • Twin lens dive masks generally work better for strong plus prescriptions than single lens masks.
The Scubapro D-Mask is my top choice for divers with very strong prescriptions.

Best Dive Masks for strong farsighted lenses

Here are our recommendations for masks that we sell, that work very well for strong plus lenses:

  1. Scubapro D- Mask (my top choice and the mask I currently dive). Click here for my full review of the mask.
  2. IST M200 (Aluminum frame mask for small to regular fit faces)
  3. IST M100 (Aluminum frame mask for average faces to slightly wide)

diving Masks that we don't sell but are good options

Scuba diving mask with light pink frame and higher strength prescription lenses.
IST M200- a mask that we sell that works well for strong plus lenses. This goggle has a fairly strong minus (nearsighted) correction installed.

Here are masks that we don’t sell on our website, but make great options for high plus lenses (if you own one of these, you can definitely send them in to us to have high plus lenses installed) :

  • Aqua Lung Reveal X2 Mask
  • Mares Viper Mask (ultra low volume free diving mask which allows for a small and relatively thinner lens)
  • Sherwood Targa Mask
  • Cressi Big Eyes Evolution Mask
  • Tusa Ceos Mask

Great dive masks (that are bad for thick plus lenses)

We love single lens masks- but in general masks like these that place the front glass closer to the diver's eyes are not great for strong plus lenses as the lenses may come close to the divers face. In this example has moderately weak distance lenses installed which are thin enough to prevent this problem.

Here is a list of popular dive masks, that we can install prescription lenses into, but are NOT good options for strong plus lenses (still great option for other lenses):

 

  • Cressi F1 Frameless Mask
  • Aqua Lung Micro Mask
  • Scubapro Synergy 2 Mask
  • Atomic Aquatics Venom Frameless Mask
  • Mares X-Vision Ultra Liquidskin Mask
  • Oceanic Shadow Frameless Mask
  • Tusa Freedom HD Mask
  • Hollis M1 Frameless Mask
  • Tusa Paragon S Mask
  • Atomic Aquatics Frameless Mask
  • Scubapro Solo Mask
  • Hollis M3 Mask
  • Mares X-Free Mask

The above are all quality dive masks (some of which are even available on our site) which work well for a lot of prescriptions- however they are not good options for those with strong plus lenses.

If you are just snorkeling, our full face snorkel masks also work well with all prescriptions, even very strong ones.

Just a few reminders: Our made to order lenses can correct for strabismus and astigmatism (prism and cylinder). No matter your prescription, we can make a dive mask for you, but mask selection is more important for those with strong plus corrections. Feel free to give us a call or email if you have questions about selecting a mask, or whether your mask will work for your prescriptions.

Picture of Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and rebreather diver- he has been involved in diving for more than 20 years. He has also worked as a sergeant at the Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Office, which included time as the instructor for the dive team. Josh also holds a masters degree in data analytics from Texas A&M.

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Single Lens Dive Mask and Prescription Lenses

Single lens dive masks such as the scuba pro gorilla mask, atomic aquatics venom (& venom frameless) have become increasingly popular with divers due to their increased field of view as well as offering comfort for some divers with more prominent nasal bridges which may be compressed with twin lens dive masks. We frequently get calls from scuba divers and snorkelers asking if we can make prescription lenses for their single lens dive masks or get a dive mask from us with single lenses and a prescription. The short answer is yes, and in this article, I am going to discuss some of the confusing nomenclature regarding prescription dive masks (such as single lens vs single vision), different single lens options, and some of the advantages (and disadvantages) of getting prescription lenses such as bifocals, single vision, and readers put into a single lens dive mask.

Black Skirt Dive mask with reading glass installed in the bottom
Hollis M-1 with custom reading lenses installed by See the Sea RX in Houston

What is the difference between a single lens and a twin lens dive mask?

This one is pretty fairly straight forward. Below I have two examples of masks with prescription lenses installed. One is the Atomic Aquatics subframe with custom st-35 bifocals (the st-35 bifocals have a slightly larger reading area for those that do more macro work such as photographers. You can read my article on the different bifocal options for dive masks here)- the other is a Tusa Single Lens Dive Mask (with an Anti-UV coating).

Atomic Subframe- a TWIN lens dive mask with custom oversize bifocals installed by See the Sea RX
A TUSA single lens dive mask with custom single vision lenses made in our lab. We do get questions rom divers about installing lenses with dive masks with coatings, and this is not an issue for us as seen here.

The Tusa mask has one single piece of front glass, while the Atomic Subframe has two lens pieces separated by a nasal bridge. Some single lens masks are marketed as “frameless” consisting of just the skirt and the lens, and no frame portion (such as the atomic frameless 1 and 2).

We can install lenses in both, as you can see in the above images. Aesthetically, I prefer the look of twin lens masks with prescription lenses as the prescription lenses will be made per eye and installed in the dive mask; however, functionally there is no difference.

You can get both single and twin lens dive masks in clear and black skirts (I talk more about differences in skirt colors in my article on picking the right mask for prescription lenses here, and a video on YouTube we uploaded here).

What is the difference between single lens and single vision?

This one is a little more confusing for some divers not used to these terms. Single lens refers to the dive mask construction and single vision relates to vision correction. Single Vision lenses correct for a single distance, typically distance for nearsighted folks like me. Here is my Scuba Pro D-Mask with prescription lenses (single vision) before a recent dive in Sint Maarten.

Here are the different type of prescription lenses:

Single Vision Correct for one vision distance. Typically distance. Can correct for astigmatism, include prism correction for those with strabismus, and can be made custom to your exact prescription.

Bifocal Lenses- These lenses correct for two distances. As we age, our lenses lose elasticity, and it becomes more difficult for our eyes to accommodate for near vision and reading. Those of us that wear glasses to correct for distance (nearsighted mostly) will over time likely need a multifocal correction of some sort.

Reading Lenses Reading lenses are a special type of single vision lenses that we produce and are installed in the bottom of the dive mask for divers that have developed presbyopia (the loss of lens elasticity discussed in the bifocal description), but who do not need distance correction (or only minimal distance correction that they do not want to correct). Single lens masks are a favorite for divers who want readers, due to the oversize readers we can produce for them. Check out my article on custom prescription readers for the Atomic Venom mask here.

Other considerations for single lens dive masks:

Single lens dive masks have oversize lenses, which makes them particularly useful for one type of prescription lens we make- the franklin bifocal. The franklin bifocal is a fully custom bifocal where we make two lenses per eye (one for distance one for near) and we can make the percentage size of each two completely to order. For example, those that do primarily video or photo work and want up to 80% of their lens space used for near vision, we can do that. We frequently use the Atomic Venom Frameless for this purpose.

A clear frame dive mask with reading glass
Atomic Aquatics Frameless Dive Mask with custom reading lenses installed at See the Sea RX in Houston

pictures of single lens dive masks with prescription lenses

What single lens dive masks can have prescription lenses installed

Single lens masks we stock and make custom prescription lenses for in our in house lab:

Atomic Frameless Mask
Atomic Venom Frameless

We also have access to the Scuba Pro Frameless and Gorilla mask although we do not keep it on hand.

Single lens masks we do not stock, but are able to install prescription lenses:
Hollis M1
Cressi F Dual Mask
JBL Seeker
Mares Essence
TUSA Freedom HD
TUSA Paragon S Mask
SeaDive Eagleye
TUSA Zensee Pro Mask
Aqua Lung Linea Mask
Synergy 2 Trufit Dive Mask (SINGLE Lens- there is also a twin lens synergy 2 which we do stock)

And many other quality single lens dive masks not listed.

Picture of Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and rebreather diver- he has been involved in diving for more than 20 years. He has also worked as a sergeant at the Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Office, which included time as the instructor for the dive team. Josh also holds a masters degree in data analytics from Texas A&M.

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Reading Lens Options for Scuba Masks

Trouble seeing your gauges?

As we age, we lose the elasticity of the lens of our eye, which makes focusing on closer objects more difficult. Presbyopia, as this condition is called, can be frustrating on land, but for us scuba divers, it can make access to critical information on our dive, specifically information on our dive computers, depth gauges, and pressure gauges, challenging or impossible to read without assistance.

Various products exist to solve the issue (hey there are many divers out there who keep a magnifying glass on their BC to see their gauges, but we think we have more elegant solutions). Primarily divers can install temporary plastic reading lenses available in various powers at their local dive shop or get a mask from us (or send us their dive mask) to install permanent glass reading lenses. Reading lenses differ from our bifocal dive masks, as they only contain correction at the bottom of the mask. Bifocals on the other hand contain correction for distance at the top of the mask, and correction for reading at the bottom. You can check out my article and videos on prescription bifocal dive masks here.

Custom reading lenses installed in dive masks


As we produce our dive mask reading lenses in glass, any product safe for us on a dive mask remains safe to use on our lenses including sea buff, defog, and other products marketed for dive masks. We custom create our dive mask reading lenses to fit the shape of your dive mask along the bottom and we can produce them in powers from 0 and up although most commonly divers request powers around +2.00 to +3.00. We can also make reading glass with cylinder correction for those with astigmatism and who want to have the correction in their reading lenses for an additional cost.

Some examples of diving masks with reading lenses

How long does it take to get a dive mask with reading lenses installed?

Our standard turnaround time is about two business weeks when you order a dive mask with lenses from us or 2 weeks from when we receive your dive mask. Rush options are available for a fee in as little as 3 business days from when you order plus shipping.

How much do dive masks with reading lenses cost?

Reading lenses (at time of posting in August, 2022) cost $169.00 plus the cost of the mask and shipping. The lenses cost the same whether you get a mask from us or send us your mask- but shipping your mask to us does add a touch of cost as well.

Can you put reading lenses in any dive mask?

We can install our reading glass in any quality dive mask that has tempered glass lenses (any mask you get a dive shop should meet this requirement). Normally there is a small “T” for tempered or the word tempered spelled out on one or both lenses. We routinely put reading lenses (or “cheaters” as some call them) in Scubapro, Aqaulung, Cressi, Atomic, and other dive mask brands. 

Special considerations

Atomic Venom dive mask with double readers installed in our lab in Houston.
A dive mask with glass prescription lenses sits on a bench after being installed
A dive mask produced with double reading lenses for different distances- one fora. middle distance, and one for a reading distance such as gauges.

We make our lenses custom to order, so we can handle special requests. Professional photographers or cinematographers often want more than half the lens covered with reading glass as they spend the majority of their time viewing the underwater world through their camera viewfinder or monitor.

We can also place reading lenses at the top and bottom of a dive mask, as we did for renown underwater explorer and photographer, Jill Heinerth, so she can view her gauges through the bottom and camera monitor through the top of the masks.

For special requests, please contact us for pricing and time frame.

If you are having a hard time seeing your gauges or dive computer, we can help ensure the information is clear, feel free to shoot us a message or contact us with any questions.

You can also check out this article I wrote a few years ago about custom lenses for an atomic venom frameless dive mask we made for our friend Jim.

 

Picture of Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and rebreather diver- he has been involved in diving for more than 20 years. He has also worked as a sergeant at the Harris County, Texas, Sheriff's Office, which included time as the instructor for the dive team. Josh also holds a masters degree in data analytics from Texas A&M.

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Bifocal Dive Mask Lens Options

Diving with bifocals

You are down 60 feet on a tropical dive in Roatan, Honduras. You look down at your computer to check your bottom time, and the numbers are getting a bit fuzzier than you remember. As many of us scuba divers who wear glasses or contacts age, we face a new problem- trouble seeing our gauges, computer, or camera controls. See the Sea has a variety of options for those of us that need help not just with the distance correction but with reading distance as well. 

In this post, I will discuss:

A dive mask sitting on a shelf containing lined bifocals.
Atomic Venom Frameless Mask with custom Franklin Bifocal Lenses from See the Sea
  • Why we need bifocals when diving
  • What masks will work with bifocal lenses
  • Which bifocal option is best for me
  • How to order a bifocal prescription dive mask

The quick summary (For those short on bottom time)

If you are in a bit of a rush, and want just the “facts”, here is the basic info:

See the Sea RX can install Zeiss bifocals into any quality dive mask, whether you send one to us or buy one of our quality masks. There are primarily three options for bifocals when scuba diving.

–  Standard Bifocal (FT28). Starting at $285.00, the standard bifocal is designed for those that just need help seeing their gauges.

–  ST35. Starting at $315.00, the ST35 has a a reading section that is approximately 20% larger than on the standard bifocal. This bifocal is great for divers who spend a bit more time using their ear vision such as photographers or divers looking at macro life.

–  Franklin Bifocal. The Franklin Bifocal is a full custom option, where we install two completely different lenses on each side of the mask, one for near, and one for distance. This option, designed for professional photographers and underwater cinematographers, is the ultimate bifocal dive mask choice, as you get to choose how much near or distance lens you want. Please contact us for pricing information.

Why we need Bifocals

As we age, generally starting in our 40’s, it can become more difficult to focus on near objects, such as for reading, using our gauges, dive computer, or camera controls. This is caused by  the loss of elasticity of the lens over time

For some, reading lenses alone can help, but if you need distance correction including astigmatism, bifocals help by correcting for both the distance and near vision, so you can see the coral reef and read your gauges.

We often get asked if we can put progressive lenses in a dive mask, and the short answer is yes, but for diving traditional bifocals remain the better option. 

which masks will work for bifocal lenses

We can insert bifocals into any quality dive mask with tempered glass lenses, but there are some caveats. If you have a strong plus prescription, the lenses are going to be thickest in the center, and come towards the face. For those with stronger prescriptions, specially +sphere lenses, I encourage you to go to a higher volume mask. Masks with very high angles from the nose piece will reduce the amount of available space for the reading section of the bifocal and should be avoided. 

Currently for standard or ST35 bifocals, my favorite masks are the Scuba Pro Synergy II and the Atomic Subframe. 

For our custom Franklin Bifocals, the Atomic Venom mask works particularly well.

Prescription Atomic Subframe Mask
An Atomic Subframe with distance only prescription lenses. The Subframe works well for ST35 bifocals.
A dive mask sitting on a shelf containing lined bifocals.
An Atomic Veom Frameles mask with custom franklin bifocal leses. Please contact us for pricing on Franklin lenses.

Bifocal lens options for dive masks

See the Sea produces more bifocal dive masks than any other lens here at our lab in Houston., and we offer two bifocals online on our order page and one custom option (the Franklin Bifocal). It can be a bit confusing as to which bifocal is correct for you. We get messages daily on our chat and on the phone about the differences in our bifocal options. 

standard bifocal

The standard bifocal is the most ordered l ens at See the Sea RX.  The standard bifocal uses a 28mm st28 glass blank, which means when uncut, the width of the bifocal is 28 mm wide, but this does NOT mean you will receive a reading section 28mm wide, and in fact in almost all situations you will not. The final result will be based on the mask itself (how the lenses angle out from the nose) and your pupillary distance. I don’t want to start rambling on optics (okay I do, but you would be bored with me after about a paragraph), but the standard bifocal is a great option for divers who just need some help seeing their gauges and want their distance vision corrected (including correction for astigmatism and double vision). The result is a distance lens with a half moon reading section in the lens. If you spend more time looking through the near portion of the lens, the ST35 lens is probably better for you. 

ST35 or "Photographers' Bifocal

Both the standard bifocal and the ST35 bifocal utilize similar lens designs. The principal difference is the reading portion of the ST35 bifocal is 7mm wider (before the lens is cut) than the standard bifocal. The reading portion also extends farther down. This lens is slightly more expensive, but is worthwhile for those that spend a larger percentage of their time using the near portion of the lens, such as photographers. 

The Franklin Bifocal

The Franklin Bifocal is the ultimate custom lens for those that need distance correction and the largest possible near vision area. Benjamin Franklin, invented the original bifocal, now called Franklin Bifocals by using two different lenses in each eye, one for distance and one for near vision.

The Franklin bifocal, for those that demand the best, allows us to install the near vision lens however high up the mask you would like for your needs (photographers often request 50% or more near vision glass), as well as giving the diver edge to edge near vision, versus a half moon in the lens.

One of the disadvantages of the Franklin Bifocal is it can cause a split image near the lens lie which can take some adjustment. 

Another benefit of the Franklin Bifocal for those with higher prescriptions is the ability to install more glass for distance and near than would be possible in a one piece thick bifocal. 

To order this bifocal, please call or message us, as price is dependent on your specific vision needs. 

M100 Diving Mask with Franklin Bifocals

How to order a bifocal dive mask

To order a scuba diving mask with standard or ST35 bifocals, please visit our ordering page here. Standard bifocals start at $285 plus mask.

Turn Around time

Our standard processing time of approximately 2 business weeks applies to all our custom lens options. If you are in need of your mask sooner, please review our rush options here.

Other considerations

In general, we do not use bifocals for those just snorkeling. The exception is snorkelers who want to use a camera and are unable to see their controls without near correction. Our full face snorkel masks are also available with bifocal lenses. 

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New Dive Light add ons for Prescription Dive Mask Orders

High end diving light.

Dive light options for your dive mask purchase

As you descend through the water column, divers see a loss of color in the order of the colors of the rainbow. Most noticeably, reds are lost very quickly. This occurs because water absorbs various wavelengths of the light spectrum more rapidly than others. 

One way to counter this is by using a tinted lens mask. We do offer several prescription dive masks with these color correcting options such as the M100 (color correction model). Divers can also use a light bring back colors lost at depth. Both options are viable, but I love to have a little light in my BCD that helps me also look under crevices or as a backup during a night dive. 

To continue with our mission of helping divers see clear, we recently added two dive light options you can easily add to your dive mask order, which will help you see colors vividly during a day dive or even serve as a primary light at night. 

Introducing the Apollo Dive Light (MSRP $180) and the Lumo ($156).

In this article, I will go over my hands on experience with these dive lights, costs, and how to order them with your prescription dive mask.

High end diving light.
Apollo dive light with light shield extended.
High end dive light from See the Sea
Lumo Dive Light

Overview of the apollo & Lumo dive lights

Size & batteries

When I was first certified to dive (I don’t want to age myself here), I bought myself a brand new dive light. It took 8 D cell batteries, and I thought it was the brightest light they would ever be able to create for diving. Shortly after I bought that light, HID lights hit the market, but were very expensive. If you broke the bulb, it would be at least $100 to get a replacement.

The advent of LED lights have not only eventually reduced the cost of high end dive lights, but the size and energy consumption as well. Now a light that can fit in your hand has a bulb that will almost last forever and can serve as your primary dive light. 

Both the Apollo and Lumo dive lights are cheaper than my first dive light, smaller, and brighter. Both dive lights are about the same size, but the Apollo light (on the left in the image) is slightly longer.

The dive lights accept two CR123 batteries (not included) or 1 rechargeable 18650 battery (not included). My recommendation would be to purchase the slightly more expensive rechargeable batter as you will get much more use out of it (and CR123 batteries are not super cheap on their own anyway). Run time will depend on what mode you operate the light in, but moderate use should be several hours on a charge.

 

Control & Modes of the dive lights

Scuba dive light controls

I have  always preferred buttons to twist controls, but the Apollo light has me converted. My main complaint with twist controls is the risk of either opening the light or the controls being too difficult to utilize while diving. The Apollo solves this by having a free rotating control bevel that is separate from the main body of the light. You cannot risk flooding the light by rotating the bezel. You rotate the light to operate the modes including off, on brightness level 1, on brightness level 2, on brightness level 3, and flashing/sos. The bevel rotates easily, and there is a satisfying click as you change modes. As both models are made from lightweight aluminum, the Apollo feels great in the hand- well built and sturdy. 

The Lumo, the slightly cheaper of the two lights, operates with a push button. When turning on the light, you must hold the button down for 10 seconds (a safety feature designed to ensure it doesn’t turn on from a momentary bump in your bag or while traveling), which made me think my batteries were dead at first. Once the light is on, you cycle through the modes, which includes a flashing SOS mode with a quick push of the button.

* KEEP IN MIND LIKE ALL DIVE LIGHTS THESE LIGHTS ARE DESIGNED FOR USE UNDERWATER AND WILL EMIT SIGNIFICANT HEAT IF LEFT ON ABOVE WATER*

The Apollo light has printed icons indicating what modes are available and what mode you are in without having to cycle through the beams. 

Beams & Special Features

The Apollo is the brighter of the two lights, but that is not the only difference when it comes to the light emitted by the different models. The Apollo has two innovative features. A removable diffuser which screws onto the end of the light as well as a shield that extends and retracts preventing the light from spilling into your eyes. Check out the gallery below to see the difference in beams between the lights as well as the diffuser on the apollo light. 

How to purchase a dive light with your prescription dive mask

Adding the Apollo or Lumo dive lights to your order is easy. After you build out your prescription mask, there is a section of available accessories. Click on either light to add it to your order. To start, build out your prescription dive mask here.

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Prescription Dive Masks for Free Diving

Why do i need a prescription dive mask for freediving?

Freediving, also known as breath-hold diving or skin diving, allows the diver to explore the the underwater world without the burden of scuba gear. Experienced free divers can hold their breath for more than 10 minutes. Herbert Nitsch holds the current world for deepest free dive, over 200 meters deep.

 

There are many reasons to freedive, besides competition. Bubbles from scuba tanks and regulators can scare away fish and other life that are noise averse. Some enjoy the freedom of moving through the water unencumbered by equipment.  Spear fisherman, who want to minimize the distance between themselves and their prey, frequently free dive instead of scuba. While spearfishing while scuba diving is not illegal in the United States, in many other parts of the world, it is due to the concerns for damage to coral reefs. 


Whether you are struggling to see your depth gauge/freediving watch or need help seeing the fish, a prescription freediving mask can improve your overall freediving experience. 

 

If you are freediving already, you are probably aware of the unique needs when considering a mask specific to free diving. Vision options, for free divers who need lens correction can also affect mask choice. If you are freediving and need help seeing clearly, a prescription freediving mask if for you. 

Herbert Nitsch, current world record holder for deepst free dive.

Which freediving mask is best for prescription lenses

Atum Free Diving Mask with prescription distance lenses.

prescription considerations for freediving masks

Stonger prescriptions, specially high plus lenses, require more space is the mask. This can be countered by using a smaller lens, like in the MP208 dive mask as another factor on lens thickness is lens size. If your prescription is very strong, you may need to go to a higher volume dive mask. 

Scuba diving masks and freediving masks share many characteristics, and in fact many people use freediving masks for scuba. Both sports require a mask with tempered glass lenses and sturdy construction.

The biggest concern for freedivers is volume of the mask. As divers descend, they must add air (through exhalation) into the mask to counter the pressure exerted onto the airspace in the mask.  Mask squeeze, occurs when air is not added. Masks with larger volumes, require more air to counter mask squeeze, air that would limit the freedivers bottom time. Pictured on the left is an ultra low volume mask, the IST Mp208 Atum mask with prescription distance lenses installed. 

Features of a quality freediving mask

  • Tempered glass lenses
  • Low volume 
  • Comfortable Strap
  •  Strong Construction

Freediving mask recommendations from see the sea rx

Top choice- MP208/ Atum Mask

5/5

MSRP: $65.00 + Lenses

The Atum mask is the most popular prescription-able freediving mask on See the Sea. The Atum features quality high end silicone, frameless design, low volume, and tempered glass lenses. 

The Atum is suitable for all our lens types including reading lenses, bifocals, and single vision distance and can correct for astigmatism, double vision, and other needs requiring custom lenses.

Distance lenses start at $208.00
Bifocals start at $285.00

 

Runner up- Hunter mask

5/5

MSRP: $49.99 + Lenses

For those that want a slightly larger volume mask, the Hunter mask is available for a slightly lower price with the same grade of silicone (but in a framed design instead of frameless). 

The hunter has also slightly larger lenses for a bit more viewing area which will be appreciated by divers who want reading only lenses at the bottom of the mask. The hunger volume is slightly larger than traditional freediving masks, but it is still a low volume mask ideal for those whose prescriptions would be limited in the Atum. 

If you have any questions about prescription dive masks, free diving masks, or lenses in general, don’t hesitate to call, email, or chat us anytime! 

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Reading lenses for Atomic Venom Frameless Mask

Reading lenses for atomic venom frameless dive masks

Dive Mask Reading Lenses
Jim's Atomic Venom Frameless Mask with +2.00 reading lenses

As we age, many of us divers struggle to see our gauges or dive computer (or controls on our cameras for those that take our cameras underwater). One solution, for divers whose distance correction is largely adequate, is installing reading lenses into your dive mask or purchasing a new dive mask with reading lenses. Unlike the stick on reading lenses available at many dive shops or oline, See the Sea installs permanent reading glass (yes real glass) which is guaranteed for the life of the mask.

We were recently asked by our good friend Jim to create reading lenses for his Atomic Venom Frameless Dive Mask, and he was stoked with how they turned out. Jim does a lot of macro work, so large reading lenses were a necessity. In this article, I am going to cover:

  • The Atomic Venom Frameless Mask
  • Reading lens options for dive masks
  • The final lens shape
  • How to order reading lenses for a dive mask 
  • Other considerations

The Atomic Venom Frameless Mask

 

 

The Atomic Venom Frameless mask is probably the flagship mask from Atomic. Based on years of frameless mask design, According to Atomic, “The VENOM Frameless is incredibly comfortable with
low-volume, hydrodynamic construction and exclusive Atomic “Wicked” styling. Co-molded with two silicone materials in two levels of softness and features the exclusive Atomic UltraClear lens. It will change the way you think about dive masks”. 

Unlike their other frameless masks (check out my overview of the Atomic mask lineup), the Venom Frameless is only available in a black skirt, and only in the standard size (the non-venom frameless masks are available in clear and medium fits).

See the Sea RX can install prescription lenses into the Atomic Aquatics Venom Mask

Reading lens options for dive masks

Us scuba divers need clear near vision for several reasons:

  • Most importantly, we need to see our gauges and/or computer to be aware of our remaining bottom time and tank pressure.
  • Observe small animals or features up  close underwater.
  • See a camera screen or controls for an underwater camera

Types of reading glasses

At See the Sea, we permanently install reading glass into your dive mask (or you can purchase a dive mask from us including the Atomic Venom). Normally install what are called “Executive” style readers which extend all the way the lens left to right, but as everything we do is custom, we can create a custom shape fitting your needs. Often, professional underwater photographers and videographers require larger reading lenses as they spend more of their time viewing macro work.

lens shape used

In this case, we created a unique angle of the reading lenses which maximize reading glass on the periphery, while minimizing disturbance to the distance vision.

Our experience as divers, not just opticians, give us a unique insight on on giving divers the best vision. This is what makes us different. By angling the lenses on Jim’s mask, instead of leaving them level, we can lower the height of the reading glass when he is looking straight ahead, while giving him a taller lens where he may view his gauges.

This effect can be somewhat seen when looking at the second picture below on the right which is taken through the inside of the mask. The effect is more pronounced when actually viewing the lens while wearing the mask.

The lenses are also larger than we do standard reading lenses due to Jim’s needs. In general, if you provide us no instructions as to the size or shape of the lenses you want, we utilize about the bottom quarter of the mask for your near lenses. 

How to order reading lenses for a venom frameless mask.

If you want to order an Atomic Venom Frameless Mask with reading lenses, you can either buy one from us or send us your masks. Either way, the first step is to enter our order system here, and select either “I have a mask” or “I need a mask”. If you are purchasing a mask from us, you will find the Atomic Venom icon, and you can select your color. 

You will then need to select lens type- in this case it is “Reading Lens”.

You will then enter in your lens power. Reading lenses are available in powers from +0.5 through +4.00. 

If you are sending us your own Venom mask, be sure to mark on the lens with a sharpie showing how high up the mask you would like your lenses installed. 

Our standard processing time is about 2 weeks from when we receive your order (or your mask), but rush options are available in as little as three days. See the Sea RX- Home of Prescription Dive Masks. 

Diver wearing Venom mask with +2.00 reading lenses before final lens cleaning.
The view through an Atomic Venom Frame less mask with +2.00 reading lenses

Additional considerations

If you need correction for distance as well, reading lenses alone may not provide you a satisfactory diving experience. For the clearest vision you may want to consider bifocals (which we do more of than any other lens.

Additionally, if your vision has a high amount of astigmatism or any prism correction, please contact us to discuss options for you.

Picture of Josh

Josh

Josh has been diving for 20 years and started See the Sea RX when he was unhappy with the other prescription lens options on the market. He would rather be in or on the water than whatever he is doing right now.

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Prescription Lenses for Atomic Masks

Prescription Atomic Subframe Mask

Prescription Lenses for Atomic Masks

Atomic Aquatics Masks

Founded in 1995, Atomic Aquatics is a premier manufacturer of dive equipment based in California. We often receive requests from customers about purchasing prescription lenses for Atomic dive masks. Atomic prides itself on “Passion, Precision, and Performance”.  Atomic produces some of the most popular frameless dive masks on the market. In this article, I will discuss sending in your mask to us to have prescription lenses installed, the different Atomic masks available, and what type of lenses are available.

Prescription Atomic Subframe Mask
Atomic Subframe Mask with Prescription Distance Single Vision Lenses

What type of vision problems can you correct?

At See the Sea RX, we pride ourselves on being low vision experts. Our custom made glass lenses can correct almost all vision issues (which can be corrected with glasses) including astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness and double vision requiring prism. 

We offer three main lens types:

  • Single Vision Lenses- For individuals who need distance correction, single vision lenses, available in high index for those with stronger corrections
  • Bifocals- Our most common lens type. Bifocal lenses assist those that need distance and near correction. Bifocals help divers see the sites while also easing their view of their gauges or dive computer.
  • Reading Lenses- Reading lenses are glass we install in the bottom of the mask for divers who need help seeing their gauges or computer.

Sending in your Atomic Mask for Prescription Lenses

The majority of our fellow divers that come to us for a prescription dive mask, purchase a dive mask from us (including Atomic masks which are now available), but we have some divers that prefer to send us their mask (not a problem at all!). We can insert prescription lenses in any Atomic dive mask including the Frameless, Frameless 2, and Subframe.

How to send us your Atomic Mask for Prescription Lenses:

  1. Complete the order on our order page 
  2. Mark your pupil locations on the outside of the dive mask using a sharpie to ensure the most accurate vision.
  3. Ship your mask to See the Sea RX at 2501 South Shepherd, Houston, Texas 77019.

Popular Atomic Masks

The two main types of masks from Atomic Aquatics prescriptioned by See the Sea RX are the Atomic Frameless Line, the Venom Mask, and the Subframe.

Frameless Masks

According to Atomic:

The Atomic Aquatics Frameless Mask is focused on fit, comfort and a wide vision field. The large lens and close fitting skirt work in harmony to create perhaps the widest viewing angle of any frameless mask design. The lens shape was computer designed to maximize upward, downward and side to side vision. Because an external frame is not needed, the viewable area of the lens is optimized. Squeeze-to-adjust buckles are tucked behind the lens for a sleek hydrodynamic design.

The Frameless line comes in both clear and black skirts and two sizes: Standard & Medium. The medium fit has a skirt designed to fit narrower faces, but the rest of the mask is identical.

Atomic did release a Frameless 2 mask (also available in the two sizes and skirt options) with the main upgrade being the skirt material.

See the Sea RX Atomic Frameless Mask which can have prescription lenses
Atomic Aquatics Frameless Mask available with prescription lenses from See the Sea RX

Venom Mask

The Atomic Venom Mask is Atomic’s highest quality frameless mask. The main features separating the Venom from the standard frameless masks include higher quality (allegedly clearer) glass and the unique skirt design. Two different rubbers comprise the Venom’s skirt including a stiff middle portion to hold the shape of the mask, and a “gummy” rubber where the mask seals around the face.

See the Sea RX can install prescription lenses into the Atomic Aquatics Venom Mask
Atomic Aquatics Venom mask – See the Sea RX- featuring the “Gummy” skirt.

Atomic Subframe

The Subframe is my personal favorite mask for our prescription lenses due to my partiality to twin lens dive masks and the overall durability of the mask. While the frameless dive masks due tend to be the more popular masks from Atomic’s lineup, I like the overall build quality of the subframe. The subframe is available in clear and black skirts (and a pink accent for those partial to the color).

Atomic also makes the Subframe available with their ARC (anti-reflective coating) lens, but in general, I do not encourage the ARC lens in conjunction with prescription glass lenses.

My one complaint about the Atomic dive masks, considering their costs, is overall the quality of the cases. I find the tabs break easily, and I carry my Atomic in a case that I purchased separately. (If you are reading this Atomic, you make such awesome masks- can you please send them in a better case!).

Prescription Atomic Subframe Mask
Atomic Subframe Mask with Prescription Distance Single Vision Lenses

Ordering an Atomic Mask with Prescription Lenses from See the Sea RX

While you can send us your mask (and we definitely believe in supporting local dive shops – You can find a list of Atomic Dealers here), we do make Atomic masks available directly on our order page for divers who would prefer to purchase them at the same time.

When you click on our order page, and then “I need a mask”, you can select your desired mask of choice. Keep in mind when selecting colors, the “medium fit” masks are designed for divers with narrower faces.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to give us a call, send us a chat message, or email us anytime.

How long does it take to get your prescription dive mask?

Our standard processing is approximately two business weeks plus shipping once you place your order for prescription dive masks with us, or AFTER we receive your dive mask. Rush options are available including a 3 day turn around (plus critical cargo shipping if needed). We normally close for a week during December and this time is NOT included in our standard processing time.

-Josh

See the Sea RX

 

 

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Prescription Full Face Snorkeling Masks from See the Sea RX

While our team at See the Sea RX has been shipping prescription dive masks across the globe, we often get requests from snorkelers, who love being in the ocean as much as us. Some snorkelers love our prescription dive masks, but we also get questions about:

    Prescription full face snorkeling masks
    A more affordable product than our custom glass prescription dive masks
Gabriel with Aria Full Face Kids Mask & Duo Fins
My nephew Gabriel testing out a new Aria Kid’s Full Face Snorkeling mask on the beach in Galveston, Texas.

If you are ready to order an Aria full face snorkeling mask with or without prescription lenses, give us a call at 1-800-356-7190 or 281-800-3131.We are excited to announce we have partnered with OceanReef, leaders in full face scuba diving masks & the first to market with a full face snorkeling mask, to offer our snorkeling customers who want an alternative to a traditional prescription dive mask an affordable quality option.

Utilizing the Aria & Aria QR+ full face snorkeling masks, a lens retainer, and advanced lenses matched to your exact prescription, we are able to provide snorkelers (even those with extreme prescriptions)- a more affordable options for crystal clear vision while in the water.

Here is a short video of my nephew Gabriel, trying out the Aria kids mask this last weekend:

Jennifer sent us these pictures of her son, Cameron, using his new Aria mask from See the Sea RX with custom prescription lenses on their recent trip:

Cameron showing off his Aria full face snorkeling mask with prescription lenses in the Caribbean.

Aria Snorkeling Mask with Prescription Lenses

If you are interested in purchasing the Aria or Aria QR+ with or without prescription lenses, please give us a call at 281-800-3131 or 800-356-7190. We will shortly launch them on the See the Sea RX website, but in the meantime, we are able to get you set up over the phone.

The Aria & Aria QR+ Snorkeling Masks

If you do an online search for full face snorkeling mask, or even snorkeling mask, you will see hundreds of products at various price points. Does it matter which mask you get? The short and correct answer is YES!!!

Oceanreef has been in business since the 1940’s and using their manufacturing knowledge of full face snorkeling masks, they produce one of the first full face snorkeling masks. Producing a snorkeling masks presents more challenges than many expect, and ensuring proper gas exchange is crucial. What is the difference between an $80.00 full face snorkeling mask and a $15.00 Chinese manufactured clone? Ease of breathing and gas exchange. There have been reports of cheap masks improperly or inefficiently removing carbon dioxide leading to serious incidents. I would not allow my family to snorkel with the knockoff masks, but I quite happily gave my nephews the aria masks to snorkel with (you can see Gabriel snorkeling with the aria kid’s mask in the video up top).

The Aria masks have been vetted and fully tested by Oceanreef. What are the differences between the Aria (classic) and the Aria QR+? We do offer both masks for our customers, but the primary difference is the QR+ includes a built in go pro mount (available as an add on for the Aria classic) as well as buckle straps for quick removal without having to adjust the straps when donning the mask.

Snorkelers report less jaw fatigue when using the Aria or Aria QR+ as they enable the snorkeler to breathe through their mouth or nose without having to bit onto a snorkel. This can also provide an easier experience for snorkelers who just cannot tolerate a snorkel in their mouth.

Aria QR+
Aria QR+ Full Face Snorkeling Mask

Aria Snorkel Mask Prescription Lenses:

One of the main benefits of the Aria full face snorkeling mask for our customers, besides its exceptional build quality, is our ability to insert prescription lenses via an optical retainer for a lower cost than our traditional prescription dive masks.

Our custom (not pre-made) lenses for the Aria can accommodate all prescription corrections including:

  • Astigmatism
  • Extreme prescriptions requiring high index lenses
  • Prism

Additionally, as our lenses are custom, we can provide our customers bifocals, progressive lenses, or even tinted lenses for those that are sensitive to light.

Call us to find out our current specials on the Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask with and without prescription lenses: 1-800-356-7190 or 281-800-3131.

Aria Classic
Aria Classic Snorkeling Mask

How tp pick the correct size Aria Full Face Snorkel Mask

The Aria Snorkel Mask is available in various sizes. In order to pick the correct size, check out the reference image below:

If you have any questions about how to measure correctly, don’t hesitate to give us a call or shoot us a message on the chat to the bottom right of your screen.

How to buy the Aria or Aria QR+ Full Face Snorkeling Mask with prescription lenses.

See the Sea RX sells the Aria and Aria QR+ snorkeling masks with and without prescription lenses. Discounts are available for multiple mask orders.

Give us a call at 1-800-356-7190 or 281-800-3131 to order your mask today.

UPDATE- 11/22/2019. Online ordering is now live! Click here to order your full face snorkel mask now!

Aria Measuring Scale
Measuring Scale for Aria Full Face Snorkeling Masks

Available Accessories

The Aria is available with a variety of accessories including:

  • Snorkel Talkie- Mask to Mask communication device
  • Go Pro Mount
  • Matching Fins

See Clear with See the Sea RX

– Josh & The Team