Posted on

Choosing The Right Dive Mask

How to pick a dive mask for prescription lenses

HISTORY OF DIVE MASKS

Long before the early rebreather and open circuit pioneers such as Jacques Cousteau perfected their underwater breathing devices, humans had been exploring the underwater world with breath hold diving.
The human eye has evolved to see in air. Water is a different medium with properties that challenge the human eye. When we try to see underwater without the aid of any device, our eyes cannot focus properly. This causes the blurry vision we have all experienced in our neighborhood pool.
Even Leonardo Da Vinci drew images of possible underwater viewing aides. However, it wasn’t until the development of rubber that a true diving mask as we know it was created. The first designers of diving masks used a simple single oval piece of glass with rubber. The front of the dive mask, as with contemporary masks we use today, maintained a flat or planar front. The flat front of the dive mask affects the refraction of light, allowing our eyes to focus underwater. When diving underwater, the water exerts pressure on any airspace, and this includes the airspace within a dive mask. To counteract this pressure, any diver must exhale air out into the mask. The early masks did of the 1900’s did allow the diver’s nose to be contained in the mask.
We take rubber for granted, but Charles Goodyear only vulcanized rubber in the last 200 years, and the advent of modern rubber products led to the modern dive mask.

MODERN DIVE MASKS

Divers will see all modern dive masks have the same key components: A tempered glass lens front, a pocket for the nose, and a silicone skirt to seal around the face keeping water out of the mask. Dive mask manufactures, and the FDA view tempering of the glass as mandatory. This is due to risk of breakage. By tempering the glass, manufacturers can help reduce scratching of the lenses as well.

Gear manufacturers also use differing quality levels of silicone to distinguish themselves from other masks on the market. The Scuba Pro Synergy II, which we do offer, sports a double skirt and a high-quality silicone.
IST makes the only mask on the market with a metal frame dive mask. Several of their masks are available on our site. Some of these masks that are available in the aluminum frame include: The M100, M200, and M300.
Divers and snorkelers have two main choices when selecting dive masks: Single/Twin Lens Masks and Silicone/Mask Color.

TWIN LENS OR SINGLE LENS DIVE MASK

Twin lens dive masks are those with two separate pieces of glass separated by a nose pocket/bridge. They comprise most of the dive mask market. Twin lens masks work particularly well for prescription bonding. This is because we are able to create near edge to edge prescription lenses to bond to existing glass. That process can’t be done with single lens masks. Single lens masks generally let more light into the mask due to the larger viewing area.

CLEAR SKIRT OR BLACK SKIRT

Divers can buy dive masks with frames in various colors. They can choose the color depending on personal preference. Dive mask skirts, however, are generally only available in 2 colors: black and clear. Clear skirts allow more light into the dive mask. This can be pleasing to those who feel slight claustrophobia while wearing a dive mask. Unfortunately, due to sun exposure, salt water, and chlorine, most clear skirts will yellow as the dive mask ages. Yellowing can take years to appear.

Even proper care will not stop this from happening. The downside of black skirts is that they are light limiting. They do, however, maintain their color and look newer for longer. As always, we always recommend rinsing your gear, including your dive mask. The rinse should be done with fresh water, immediately after all dives. That is the best way to help extend the life of your dive mask.

Josh
See the Sea RX
Helping you see clearer underwater.

Posted on

Can you really do all prescriptions in different masks? (And is there a gap?)

Some of the frequent questions we get from our customers are “can you put my prescription into a mask I already have” and “I have a really strong prescription, are you sure you can do it?”.

We have done prescriptions up to -28 sphere (yes that is a -28!- For reference, my personal prescription is around a -1.50), which you can see below.

We were really excited to work on that mask for our customer, and we hope it made a difference in their ability to scuba dive. You will notice there is a gap between the ophthalmic lens and the front dive mask lens to which it is bonded. On larger masks, there will always be some gap due to the size of optical lenses, but on this mask the gap is more extreme due to the extreme prescription.

Below you can see some other examples of lenses we have installed for our customers. Most of these masks are smaller, so they have very limited gaps or no gap at all. Our larger masks such as the Scuba Pro Synergy II will have a more noticeable gap.

If you have any questions or concerns about Prescription Dive Masks, don’t hesitate to reach out.

-Josh

See Clearly
See the Sea RX

Posted on

Texas Diving Spots

Josh with diving students on Lake Travis

Some of our customers are surprised to hear we are based in Houston, Texas. Texas boasts a large population of divers, and over the last several years, over 10,000 divers are certified a year in Texas! So where do all us crazy Texas divers go diving

The top of my list will probably even further surprise divers outside of Texas. Approximately 100 miles from Galveston, Texas hosts one of the most pristine coral reef systems in North America: The Flowers Gardens Marine Sanctuary. I have been fortunate enough to dive on the Flower Gardens, including acting as a divemaster for an annual trip for teachers from across America to educate them on the sanctuary. Currently, Fling Charters runs the most prolific dive operation out to the Flower Gardens.

 

 

 

Josh diving Lake Travis

Texas Divers also find water holes throughout the inland area to find depth. While working as a scuba instructor through college, I frequently dived Windy Point Park at Lake Travis in Austin. Various items such as small boats and metal sculptures are spread throughout the diving area for divers to explore and test their navigation skills. Robert Weiss’ Lake Travis Scuba offers boat diving on Lake Travis for various levels of divers including technical diving.

In West Texas, another diving gem is hidden. Balmorhea State Park includes a spring fed, crystal clear pool that maintains a crisp 72 degrees year round offering divers a winter haven.

 

 

 

Josh on the Texas Clipper in South Padre

In November 2007, Texas Parks and Wildlife (and other agencies and organizations) sunk the Texas Clipper as part of the artificial reef project. The Clipper has settled and has been a frequent loved dive site of mine. Normally I dive with American Diving in South Padre.

While divers outside of Texas might think we don’t have much water to hop in down here, Texas locals know there are plenty of diving spots and at least one within an hour of driving distance from wherever they may be.

 

 

– Josh

See Clearer

SeeTheSeaRX.com

 

Posted on

Obtaining your Prescription for Dive Mask Lenses

We love our eyes and agree with the recommendations to get an annual comprehensive vision exam. Did you know the FTC requires your eye doctor to give you a copy of your prescription following your exam.

If you don’t have a copy of your prescription handy or if you misplaced the one provided by your eye doctor, give them a call and ask about obtaining a copy. If for any reason, you would rather not contact your doctor’s office, simply complete the form below authorizing us to access your prescription records. Send it back to us via email or fax, and we will contact your doctor’s office directly to obtain your prescription.

Once we receive your prescription, we will contact you to complete your purchase.

Posted on

Why We Only Use Zeiss Glass Lenses

Ever since my mom showed me how she developed film negatives in the laundry room of our house, I have been interested in photography. From that moment, I have been passionate about taking pictures on land and underwater.

About a year ago, I purchased one of my dream cameras – a Hasselblad 500c, a medium format film camera. When choosing the lens for the camera, Hasselblad went with the correct choice of a Carl Zeiss lens. The 80mm Zeiss lens fitted on my 500c still captures beautiful images today. You can see one of the images I took on this camera here on this page. In fact, when NASA had to decide on which camera to send to the moon on the Apollo Missions, they also chose a Hasselblad 500c derivative with a Zeiss lens! Zeiss began manufacturing glass optics in the 1800s and their reputation for quality exists through today. When a customer buys a rifle scope, binoculars, or camera lens made by Zeiss, they know they can expect the highest quality in the field. When I selected the optical lenses to use for our dive masks, I made the same decision as Victor Hasselblad – Zeiss glass. Whilst the optical industry has largely moved away from glass to cheaper polycarbonate lenses, the scratch resistance and optical clarity of glass are unparalleled. This is why you never see a quality microscope, telescope, or binoculars that use polycarbonate lenses.

Image taken in 2017 with Josh’s Hasselblad using the original Zeiss lens

Whether you send us your mask or buy your mask from us, all prescription lenses are Zeiss glass. Our commitment to quality, whilst still achieving the best price in the industry, starts by using the highest quality materials available. I could increase our bottom line by using a cheaper glass, or polycarbonate lens, but as a fellow diver, I want you to have the best. To our knowledge, we are the only manufacturer of dive mask lenses using Zeiss glass.

-Josh

See The Sea RX

The best quality prescription dive masks, at the best price

Guaranteed for life

Posted on

Why Bonded Lenses?

When you receive your mask back from our lab, you will notice the front tempered glass of the mask has not been replaced. We bond high-quality Zeiss glass lenses into your mask with an optically clear chemical bonding agent.
By bonding glass lenses into your mask (or one of our masks if you buy a mask from us), we can precisely match your prescription, unlike drop-in lenses which replace the front glass of some masks and can only approximate your prescription. Additional drop-in lenses cannot correct for astigmatism.
When you place your order with us, we send you a UPS shipping label and instructions for shipping your mask directly to our lab. One of the most important steps described is how to mark your pupil location on the outside of your mask with a sharpie. That step enables us to place the optical center of the prescription lens right where you need it.
Additionally, by bonding the lenses to your mask, we can guarantee our lenses from clouding or de-bonding, for life.