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Prescription Dive Masks for Strong Prescriptions

Scuba diving mask with light pink frame and higher strength prescription lenses.

You have a super strong prescription and scuba dive- what do you do?

One of the biggest rewards for us is when we can help someone with a strong prescription dive when other opticals told them they can’t make a dive mask for their needs. We have produced masks with lenses as strong as -28!

I get phone calls every day from divers who ask if we can use their prescription as it is strong. Most of the time, their prescriptions are what we consider relatively moderate (+4 through -4), and those prescriptions are no issue in really any of our dive masks.

Strong prescriptions than that are not an issue for us (and we routinely make masks with high cylinder powers or prism), but higher power prescription dive masks tend to work better in some masks than other masks. 

Ready to order a dive mask for a strong prescription?

Prescription Dive Mask Order Page

Click Here

What is a strong prescription?

When creating lenses for prescription scuba diving masks, we require any prescription with a single vision spherical equivalent of -6 and stronger, or +4 and stronger to use our high index glass lenses. This enables us to produce a thinner lens in this prescription ranges. This is also the line where we start considering what masks can support these stronger lenses without risking the lens touching the diver’s face or other complications. 

Scuba diving mask with light pink frame and higher strength prescription lenses.
M200 dive mask with strong prescription lenses

Best scuba diving masks for stronger prescriptions

Divers and snorkelers do not have to buy a mask from us to install corrective lenses, but in general there are several factors that should be considered when choosing a mask to accommodate stronger prescriptions in dive masks. 

  • Smaller lens size. This enables us to produce a prescription lens as close to edge to edge as possible without increasing thickness dramatically.
  • Deeper skirt. A deeper skirt keeps the dive mask a bit further from the diver’s face preventing issues with lens thickness. 
 
 

Below are the masks we recommend most often for those with stronger prescriptions which we keep in stock.

Up close view of a scuba pro d-mask with bifocal lenses

Scubapro d-mask ($185 + lenses)

The scuba pro d-mask which can be reviewed in depth in my article here, comes in three sizes to accommodate a wide range of faces. The lenses contain a slight hue to provide color correction at depth and a UV coating to protect your eyes at the surface.

IST m200 Aluminum Frame Mask ($94 + Lenses)

The M200, which is an average fit masks fits those with slightly narrower faces as well as up to a medium/ regular fit. It only comes in one size and the aluminum frame does provide robust support for the mask. We carry the M200 in clear and black skirts as well as several frame colors.

IST m100 Aluminum frame

The M100 is the bigger brother to the M200 dive mask and is a bit larger. Like the m200 we carry it in a black or clear skirt as well as several color options for the frame. We also carry the M100 with color correcting / mirror lenses which can also support stronger prescriptions.

What scuba masks should I avoid with a stronger prescription?

Atomic Subframe with stronger prescription lenses

There are no hard and fast rules as each mask and each prescription are different, but in general, as the prescription strength increases, we discourage divers from using the synergy II or frameless masks which are very popular for divers with milder prescriptions. The Atomic Subframe also can have lens thickness concerns with increased prescription strength. These are all very popular masks on our website and for divers in general, and they should absolutely be considered for prescriptions within the more moderate range. 

other considerations for snorkelers, swimmers, and divers with strong prescriptions!

If you do not have much astigmatism (you can give us a call to discuss whether this applies to you or not), some of our masks support less expensive stock lenses (available here). Stock lens masks generally support sphere correction from -8 up to +4 without correcting for any astigmatism, prism, or those that need a multifocal lens. 

If you are just swimming or snorkeling, our prescription swim goggles and full face snorkel masks can support your exact prescription, including high powers, for a lower price than our glass dive masks.

 

Prescription Swim Goggles

Our prescription swim goggles start at around $200 including prescription. We recently shipped out a swim goggle with +15 lenses!

Prescription Full Face Snorkel Masks

Our prescription full face masks are also a more affordable option for those with strong prescriptions who only want to be able to snorkel.

If you have any questions regarding unique prescriptions or want help picking out a prescription dive mask, don’t hesitiate to reach out!

Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and 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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Scubapro D Mask with Franklin Bifocals

Scuba diving prescription mask from scubapro with two lenses for distance and near correction

Scuba pro D-Mask & Franklin Bifocals

It is no secret that the scubapro d mask has recently become one of my favorite dive masks for prescription dive mask lenses. I recently wrote a post just detailing the d mask. Below are my reasons for loving the d-mask:

  • 3 sizes available to fit the vast majority of people. If you order a size and it doesn’t fit, we can move the lenses quickly to a different size as they all share the same lens size.
  • UV coating to protect your eyes at the surface of the water.
  • Slight color correcting tint to bring some red coloring back at depth.
  • Supports a wide range of prescriptions INCLUDING very strong prescriptions.
 
This article is not meant to be another review of d mask, however, but it is an overview franklin bifocal lenses in the scubapro d mask and who may want them.

For some divers, the reading /near vision lens portion in the standard bifocal just is not enough area for the tasks they are performing underwater. 
Scuba diving prescription mask from scubapro with two lenses for distance and near correction

What are bifocals for in a dive mask?

In a recent post, I reviewed bifocal dive mask options and I went over the different types of bifocals available in scuba diving masks. 

The term bifocal can be confusing and divers often confuse it with our reading lenses. Bifocal lenses correct for both distance correction and near vision correction. Our dive mask reading lenses only provide correction for near vision and we normally install them in the bottom third of the dive mask (here are some reading lenses we installed in to an atomic venom frameless mask). Our bifocal lenses can also include correction for prism and astigmatism.

For dive mask we offer three main bifocal options:

  • Standard (ST-28) bifocals
  • ST-35 Bifocals
  • Frankling Bifocals
 
 

The ST-28 and 35 refer to the lens being a straight top bifocal (lens design) and the width of the bifocal segment in each eye. It is really important to keep in mind, the width of the bifocal segment is before the lens is cut for the dive mask. Different pupillary distances and dive mask design mean all bifocal segments will be a bit narrower than in the uncut lens. 

The end result with the st28 or st35 dive mask bifocal is a lens that contains a half moon segment for near correction at the bottom of the mask. The difference between these options and the franklin bifocal is the franklin bifocal includes separate lens that spans the bottom of the mask for a large amount of near vision correction. 

A diver under blue water in Cozumel, Mexico is wearing a scuba pro d mask as well as a Hollis Rebreather.

The franklin bifocal advantage when scuba diving

Scuba pro d mask with ST35 bifocals
Scuba diving prescription mask from scubapro with two lenses for distance and near correction
Scuba pro d mask with franklin bifocals

In the above two images, you can see the two major different styles of bifocals. In the left image, we installed a st35 bifocal lens. You will likely need to click on the image to view it larger in order to see the bifocal line, but you will see a near vision segment that extends across about the bottom two thirds of the mask (in width). In the franklin bifocal on the right, you can see the near vision segment of the lens is a completely separate lens from the distance vision lens, and the reading/near vision area of the lens extends all the way to the bottom of the mask and all the way across the mask. 

For divers who engage in activities such as professional photography or cinematography, it is important to have a much larger near vision correction area. The franklin lens is also completely customizable. Some divers want the split to result. in a larger near vision area. We have made franklin dive mask bifocals that are 70% near vision and only 30% far vision. Depending on the diver’s needs, we can customize the lens sizes. If you only need bifocals to see your gauges or dive computer, the standard bifocals are a more economical option. 

Another benefit of the franklin bifocal is the ability to use high index lenses for those with strong prescriptions resulting in a thinner lighter lens than if we had done a traditional bifocal in crown glass. 

How much are bifocal lenses and how to order

Our standard bifocal lenses are available for order on the order page (seethesearx.com/ordering). Standard bifocals start at $295.00 + dive mask. The scubapro d mask costs $185.00.

The franklin bifocal is a fully custom option and is not available for order online. To set up an order for a diving mask or goggles with franklin lenses, please give us a call at 18003567190. 

Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and 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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Prescription Swim Goggles with Transition Lenses

I spend a lot of time writing about and sharing pictures of our prescription dive masks, but we have helped swimmers of all levels across the world swim more comfortably and safely with our prescription swim goggles. Our prescription swim goggles are not the $10-20 premade pairs but customized to your exact prescription which means they can correct for astigmatism, prism (for those with strabismus), extreme prescriptions (we have done up to a +20 lens in a swim goggle!), and they can be made with transition lenses in your prescription.

What are transition lenses?

Why would I want transition lenses in a swim goggle and what are transition lenses?

Transition lenses are a brand name for a photochromic lenses. Photochromic lenses change color (darken) when exposed to sunlight (more specifically UV light). While several manufacturers produce photochromic lenses, See the Sea RX uses Transition brand lenses in our prescription swim goggles (when selected). 

 There have been multiple generations of transition lenses and each generation improves on the final darkness, and transition time enabling the lenses to become darker and clearer faster. 

Our prescription swim goggles with or without transition lenses can be ordered by clicking here. 

Why would I want transition lenses in my swim goggle?

All swim goggle lenses from See the Sea RX protect the swimmer from UV rays which can damage the eyes and speed up signs of aging around the eyes. Transition lenses darken in the sun preventing the swimmer from excessive squinting in brighter conditions and helping swimmers with light sensitivity conditions. The largest benefit of prescription swim goggles with transition lenses is the ability to use the same pair of goggles in sunny conditions and indoors in darker lighting as they will darken in the sun and go clear in dark conditions. 

How much are prescription swim goggles with transition lenses?

Custom prescription swim goggles in your exact prescription start at $220.00. The transition option costs $100, bringing the goggle costs to $320 (depending on the specific goggle).

Shark swim goggle from See the Sea RX with custom prescription lenses and transition lenses just placed outside- before they darkened.
The same goggle as above after a short amount of time exposed to the sun.

Can swim goggles with transition lenses handle my prescription?

The new STS Propulsion goggles from See the Sea RX with bifocal transition lenses.

Extreme prescriptions

We often get calls from swimmers who are extremely nearsighted with prescriptions as strong as -28 sphere or with high cylinder powers (strong astigmatism), and the good news is we have yet to encounter a prescription we could not handle. The frogeye swim goggle cannot have transition lenses or accommodate strong prescriptions, but our other two goggles, the shark and the propulsion can handle strong prescriptions. Additionally our swim goggles can correct for double vision and high cylinder powers.

Bifocal lenses

If you need to see your watch while swimming (for split times) or need to use a phone while wearing your goggles and you wear progressives or bifocals on land, we can make prescription swim goggles with transition lenses in bifocals such as the propulsion goggle on the left. In general, if you do not need to use your near vision while swimming, we encourage you to get single vision (distance only) lenses). Progressive lenses can also be made in our swim goggles on special request, but we generally suggest traditional bifocals for those who have this need. 

Anti glare & scratch coatings

An additional option for our prescription swim goggles is an anti scratch and anti reflective coating. These coatings not only warranty your lenses but ar (anti-reflective coatings) are believed to increase the speed at which transition lenses darken or lighten. You can see some videos going over our prescription swim goggles here. Prescription swim goggles can be ordered here.

Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and 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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Prescription Lenses for OTS & Oceanreef Full Face Diving Masks

Oceanreef Predator, a full face diving mask from See the Sea RX available with corrective lenses

Why full face diving masks

If you need to use communication systems, dive in possibly contaminated water, or just want the ability to breathe through your nose, full face diving masks (or as Oceanreef calls them – IDMs or integrated diving masks) offer several unique features over traditional dive masks. While they may appear intimidating to use at first, full face dive masks are fairly simple to use, WITH the proper training (interesting aside, PADI now offers a full face mask specialty, but before they did, myself and other instructors who wanted to issue full face specialty certifications had to prepare our own course materials and receive a unique specialty instructor certification from PADI). 

If you want to dive with a full face face mask and need corrective lenses, See the Sea RX, the leader in prescription dive masks,  can help ensure you see clear. Full face dive masks should not be confused with full face snorkeling masks, which can only be used at the surface. 

 

Oceanreef Predator, a full face diving mask from See the Sea RX available with corrective lenses
Ocean Reef Predator Extender Dive Mask available with prescription lenses from See the Sea RX.

full face mask rx lenses

OTS Lens Retainer with Color Correcting Single VIsion lenses from See the Sea RX

If you need prescription lenses for any of the following masks, we have you covered:

Oceanreef GDivers
Oceanreef Iron
Oceanreef Space Extender
Oceanreef Preadator Extender
OTS Guardian FFM 
OTS Spectrum FFM*

Full Face Dive Masks can be made with all the lenses we make in traditional dive masks including bifocals, single vision, lenses, high index single vision, and readers (plus a few options specific to full face masks like progressive lenses and color correcting lenses).

more about the lenses

OTS Guardian Full Face Mask Optical Lens Support

Both OTS and Oceanreef use proprietary lens retainers that clip inside their masks. The lens retainers are not interchangeable between the two main manufacturers of full face diving masks, but the lens retainers are generally moveable between masks of the same manufacturer. The OTS lens retainer (optical lens kit) is $99 plus lenses while the Oceanreef Optical Lens Support 2 is $38 plus lenses. Unlike our traditional dive mask lenses which we produce in glass, (yes actual glass), full face mask lenses are generally produced in polycarbonate or other similar materials (which allows for cool options like the color correcting tint on the OTS lenses seen in the picture above).

 

OceanReef Lens Support 2.0 for Oceenreef IDM full face dive masks
 

 

While the lenses are composed of a different material than our traditional dive masks lenses, they are still available in the same corrective options such as:

-Bifocals. Bifocals are used for divers which need help seeing both near and far vision (seeing the dive site & need help seeing their gauges).
-Single Vision & High Index Single Vision. These lenses are generally produced for divers that need help with their farsight which includes correction for astigmatism (unlike stock lenses, our lenses are made custom and DO correct for astigmatism) and prism (for those that have strabismus or see double).

Prescription lenses for full face diving masks can also be updated if your prescription changes.

how to order full face diving mask prescription lenses

At this time, we do not have online ordering set up for full face diving mask lenses (we do have online ordering for full face prescription snorkel masks). To start the order process, give us a call at 1800-356-7190, or email us (info@seethesearx.com). As an authorized Oceanreef dealer, we can also build you a lens and IDM mask package. 

Other considerations

While the OTS Spectrum* is a full face diving mask, it is built a little differently than the other FFMs from Oceanreef and OTS, it has a glass flat lens front. We can install lenses on this mask (and have done so such as the custom photographer reading lenses installed on the mask to the right), but the lenses are glass and do not use the lens retainers. The OTS Spectrum is more similar to a traditional dive mask in this regards than an FFM. 

Color correction can be added to all full face mask lenses (except the OTS Spectrum) but is not suggested for photography. For other divers the specially designed tint can help increase the color range at depth when most red light has been absorbed. 

Our lab produces full face masks lenses a bit faster than our traditional dive mask lenses as they do not have to be tempered like glass lenses. Our typical turn around is about a week, and rush options are available. 

OTS Spectrum full face diving mask with reading lenses installed
An OTS Spectrum Full Face Diving mask with custom oversize reading lenses installed by See the Sea RX.
Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and 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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What’s new (with prescription dive masks) in 2021?

A diver under blue water in Cozumel, Mexico is wearing a scuba pro d mask as well as a Hollis Rebreather.

Whats new at See the Sea?

2020 was supposed to be the year (at least of puns) for vision correction. Like a lot of folks, 2020 was full of challenges for me as well as the diving community at large. I was super excited to receive my new Ikelite housing for my Canon 5D MK IV in February last year with plans of all the diving I would do throughout 2020… well we know how that went. I am still getting some use out of my housing, and we are Ikelite dealers if you ever have any questions about getting a camera/underwater camera set up. I have a few trips planned for this year, and I am super excited to post pics and vids from those trips. 

I unfortunately had a bad bout of COVID in the middle of 2020 which included hospitalization. There remain a lot of questions regarding diving post COVID. I am very lucky to be friends with Dr. Robert Sanders, the medical director, and hyperbaric & diving medical specialist, for NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab. Hopefully we can post an interview with Dr. Sanders about recommendations regarding COVID & diving soon.

On the positive side, See the Sea RX continues to grow, and we have continued to help divers around the world see clearly with underwater lenses. I authored an article about prescription dive masks for Diver’s Alert Network which was published in Alert Magazine in May, 2020. You can read the article by clicking on the Alert Diver Cover to the right.

We have also made a few changes to the site, and added a few mask options that I will review below. 

Scuba pro d mask

A diver under blue water in Cozumel, Mexico is wearing a scuba pro d mask as well as a Hollis Rebreather.

We recently added the new Scuba Pro D-Mask as an option for our various prescription lenses last month.

If you want more information on the D Mask, check out my full article on them here.

The D-Mask is available in three different fits, and comes standard with UV coated & tinted lenses. We can install any of our custom prescription lenses including single vision, high index, bifocals, or readers. 

Up close view of a scuba pro d-mask with bifocal lenses

Full face snorkel masks

As an authorized Oceanreef dealer, we sell the highest quality full face snorkeling masks with and without prescription lenses. We added them to our site in late 2019, but since then we have made a few changes. I covered prescription full face snorkeling masks in a blog post here.

You can now order full face snorkeling masks without prescription lenses on our order page: https://seethesearx.com/order-full-face-mask/

 

Custom reading lenses

While most folks will never need a mask like the one on the right (a custom Atomic Venom with dual reading lenses made for rebreather diver and photographer Jill Heinerth), most of us will need some help with seeing our gauges or dive computer as we get older. 

If your gauges are looking a little fuzzy these days, reading lenses can help. If you have any special reading lens needs or want something fully custom like Jill, give us a shout, and we will draw up a draft for your review. 

The benefit of the dual reading lens mask you see here is it allows Jill to see her gauges & rebreather HUD from the bottom of the mask while also using the top of the mask for her camera controls & monitor. 

Other updates & Changes

We have made various other changes to See the Sea RX including adding atomic aquatics diving masks, adding more prescription swim goggle options as well, and working on innovative lenses to help you see better while diving.

As always, if you have any questions about prescription dive mask lenses or any of our products, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and 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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Scuba Pro D-Mask with Prescription Lenses

Scuba Pro D-Mask Origins

When I first starting teaching Scuba at Dive World Scuba while in College, the Scuba Pro D400 mask was still in production. The darth vader like contraption offered a different design than common second stages. 

ScubaPro brought the D series regulators back recently, and with it a new mask, the D-Mask in 2020. Soon, online ordering will be available for the D-Mask on our site (you can still call us and order it over the phone as well as send us your own D-Mask to have lenses installed), but in the meantime, I wanted to provide you with a brief overview of the D-Mask, who would want it as a prescription dive mask, and some photos of a d-mask with prescription lenses we installed. 

A diver under blue water in Cozumel, Mexico is wearing a scuba pro d mask as well as a Hollis Rebreather.
Our friend Aiar diving the Scuba Pro D-Mask and the Horizon rebreather
ScubaPro D-Mask available with prescription lenses from See the Sea RX
The reintroduced scuba pro d-series regulator

Overview of the d mask

When designing the D-Mask, ScubaPro included a few unique features:

  • UV coated lenses. Most dive masks on the market do not include a UV coating to protect your eyes at the surface of the water; however the D-Mask does.  The lenses also have a slight purple hue to help provide accurate colors underwater despite the UV coating.
  • Various size options. The D-Mask comes in three skirt sizes (seen on the right)- Small for petite adults or children, medium for most average adults, and wide for those with wider faces.
  • Trufit skirt- similar to the skirt on the synergy series of masks from Scuba Pro. 

 

Even if the D-Series regulators do not interest you, the D-Mask style is unique and offers a prescription dive mask option in a moderate volume mask. The Scuba Pro Heads Up display dive computers (Galileo) easily attaches to the D-Mask, and the mask comes with a quality fabric dive mask case. 

Sizing options for Scuba Pro D-Mask. The S mall is really for very petite adults or children. The medium for most average adults. The Wide fits wider faces.

Prescription optical lens options for the d-mask

The D-Mask is available with all custom lenses from See the Sea RX. This includes:

  • Single Vision Lenses: these lenses correct for distance only (and available in high index for strong prescriptions).
  • Reading Lenses: These lenses do not correct for distance, but are normally located at the bottom of the mask to help divers see their gauges, camera, or computer. 
  • Bifocal Lenses: Bifocal lenses come in several options and help scuba divers correct for both near and distant vision problems. I wrote a long article covering the dive mask bifocal lens options, which you can read here. 
 
Another feature of the D-Mask is it does accept our stock lenses. Stock lenses are premade off the shelf lenses that can only correct for distance vision and do NOT correct for astigmatism (or prism). Stock lens dive masks are more affordable than our custom prescription dive masks for those whose prescriptions fit the parameters. The D-Mask with stock lenses can be ordered here. 

Whether you have optical needs that require custom lenses or a simple prescription which can be corrected with stock lenses, the Scuba Pro D-Mask with lenses from See the Sea RX is a great option for a lot of divers.

(The D-Mask on the left of this paragraph had custom bifocal lenses installed by See the Sea RX).

How to order a d-mask with prescription lenses

You can order the Scuba Pro D Mask with either custom or stock lenses from See the Sea. 

If you meet the following, stock lenses may work for you:

  • Distance only prescription (within -5.00 up to +4.00)
  • No prism or astigmatism correction needed
  • No near vision (bifocals) needed
 
If you fit within those parameters, the Scuba Pro D-Mask with Stock Lenses can be ordered here. 

 

If your prescription is out of range of stock lenses, if you require bifocals, or if you need astigmatism or prism correction, the Scuba Pro D-Mask with custom prescription lenses can be ordered here. 

If you already have a D-Mask and want us to install lenses, you can order the lenses at SeetheSearx.com/ordering and click on “I have a mask”.

The scubapro D-Mask is located on in the middle of our mask selections on the custom lens ordering page.
Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and 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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Dive Mask and Prescription Considerations for Underwater Photographers

OTS Spectrum full face diving mask with reading lenses installed

Prescription dive mask concerns for photographers and cinematographers

               One of my personal passions, since I started scuba diving at 14 has remained underwater photography. Being able to share images and videos of the sites we are so privileged to be able to see as divers starting with my old 35mm camera and housing I took on my early dives. Some of us divers from a young age need help with our vision and use of underwater camera equipment, while others have vision issues that develop with age. In addition to various vision issues that can affect diver’s ability to use a camera, photographers and cinematographers have unique needs that every mask may not fit. 

For example on the right, is an OTS Spectrum full face diving mask used by a professional photographer. Only reading lenses were used and were made oversize so the photographer could focus on their camera and settings, with a little space left on top for uncorrected distance viewing. 

OTS Spectrum full face diving mask with reading lenses installed
An OTS Spectrum Full Face Diving mask with custom oversize reading lenses installed by See the Sea RX.

In this article, am going to discuss scuba masks and prescription mask concerns as they relate to the underwater photographer including:

  •        Picking a mask for underwater photography
  •        Prescription lens options
  •         Reading lens options

Picking a (prescription or corrective) scuba mask for underwater photography:

While photography needs (and prescription needs) do affect mask decision, it is still important to not forget the basics. While a mask may be one of the less expensive pieces of equipment a diver uses, few things can ruin a dive like a mask that fogs, leaks, or completely fails. A quality dive mask should consist of a silicone skirt, tempered glass lenses, and high quality frame materials (if not frameless). This becomes even more critical when trying to capture the once in a lifetime shot through your viewfinder only to later find your focus was off due to a foggy mask

Picture taken in the Dos Ojos Cenote with a Sony RX100VI by Josh at See the Sea

Modern digital cameras and software allow us to save a lot of images in post processing, but focus cannot be repaired in post (there is always an exception, such as the dual pixel raw Canon 5DmkIV which allows MICRO focus adjustments in Canon software). 

On the left is my 5DMKIV housing which fits the full size DSLR. While the dual pixel raw image does allow some focus shifting in post, it is extremely minor and will not fix an out of focus image but rather is designed to sharpen focus on the eyes for example. 

In addition to general mask concerns, photographers do have a few additional needs. 

To minimize any distortion of lcd viewfinders or monitors, underwater photographers should avoid tinted or mirrored lenses. While tinted and mirrored dive mask lenses are popular with recreational divers to bring back color while diving or cut through glare at the surface, any mirror or tinted lens does reduce the amount of light reaching the eye. As underwater photographers, we want every photon to reach our eyes, so we can see the clearest picture and ensure we are capturing what we would like. 

In my article on choosing a prescription dive mask, one of the larger decisions we have to make when choosing a new dive mask is whether we want a clear skirt or a black skirt mask. Clear skirts let in some peripheral light but tend to yellow over time while black skirts look newer longer. As underwater photographers, the glare from side skirts can be distracting, so in general we recommend black skirt dive masks for photography.

The decision as to whether to use a twin lens or single lens dive mask makes no difference and is a personal choice. 

 

 

Twin lens prescription dive mask.
Single lens prescription dive mask .

Prescription considerations for the underwater photographer

In general, there are three main lens styles for prescription dive masks:

  • Single Vision/Distance Correction Lenses
  • Reading Lenses
  • Bifocals


Single vision lenses
correct for one distance only , and wee refer to single vision lenses for distance only correction. For divers that only need correction for distance due to issues such as myopia or astigmatism (yes we can even create prism lenses for scuba diving ).

If a professional underwater photographer has very mild distance correction, they often choose to not correct for the distance so as to keep the near vision as clear as possible.

Single vision lenses start at $208.00.

Reading lenses correct for close vision due to issues such as presbyopia. For the underwater photographer, who spends considerable more time using near/close vision for reviewing camera settings, camera monitors, and viewfinders, reading lenses can be the most popular option. Photographers require larger reading lenses than a diver who just needs to be able to see their gauge or computer. One of our most popular masks for reading lenses is the Atomic Venom Frameless with Reading glass.

Reading lenses start at $158.99.

Bifocal lenses are the most popular lenses produced at See the Sea. Bifocal lenses correct for both near and far distances. I wrote a much longer article (which includes a video about bifocals) on bifocal dive masks which you can review here. While many advanced underwater photographers forgo distance correction in order to focus on their close vision, if your distance vision is poor enough the dive quality would be diminished without it, there are two main and one fully custom bifocal options to consider.

Above is a Scuba Pro Synergy II Twin dive mask (one of our more popular masks), with one of our standard bifocal options. With both our standard bifocal options (the ST28 and the St38), the lens is divided into two sections: A large distance correction area as well as a half moon near vision correction zone. If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the line separating the areas. The final size of the near correction area is a factor of the dive mask, your pupillary distance, and lens constraints. The St35 (starting at $315) is the preferred standard bifocal for photographers as the near vision area is approximately 25% larger than on the St28.

For photographers that cannot operate their equipment with the constraints of the half moon near correction zone, our fully custom bifocal, the Franklin bifocal, pictured below, allows us to use two separate lenses per eye providing a truly custom product with the amount of distance/near correction per eye determined by the scuba diver/ photographer. As this is a fully custom product, online ordering is not available. Please call us for more information. 

As seen with the Atomic Venom Frameless mask above with Franklin lenses, there are two lenses per eye with the near vision lenses at the bottom of the mask extending all the way across, not limited to a half moon shape. Further the percentage of lens for each eye dedicated to near versus far vision can be determined by the diver while consulting us. 

other considerations and ordering

Some prescriptions limit mask choices, such as those with high plus lenses or high prism generally find our M100 and M200 dive masks to work best due to the space between the lenses and the diver’s face. Other dive issues such as freediving photographers, may prefer a low volume mask. I wrote an article on some of our low volume masks for freediving here. 

If you are ready to order a prescription dive mask, you can go to our order page here.  If you have any questions, you can also click the chat box on the bottom right which comes to us during business hours (and often forwards to one of our cellphones after hours). You can also call us at the office at 1800-356-7190. 

As always, you also can send us your own quality dive mask to have lenses installed, and do not have to get a dive mask directly from us. We also have a network of dealer dive stores across the United States ready and willing to help you pick a mask for prescription lenses from See the Sea. 

Josh

Josh

Josh is an optical technician and owner of See the Sea RX. He is a PADI instructor and 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 Vision (Distance) Prescription Dive Mask Gallery

Single vision prescription dive mask examples

Single vision lens dive masks are used to correct distance vision while scuba diving or snorkeling. If you have a relatively simple prescription with minimal astigmatism, the premade stock lens masks may work well for you. If you require astigmatism correction, prism correction, or if your prescription falls outside of the range, you will need our custom prescription dive masks. Our custom prescription lens dive masks can correct for extreme corrections, high cylinders, and strabismus (with prism). Below are examples of our custom prescription dive mask lenses installed in masks we stock and masks sent to us from customers around the world.  If you want to see examples of bifocal dive masks, check out the link here

Single Vision Prescription Dive Mask Gallery

The MP208/Atum freediving mask is very popular with freedivers and spearfisherman. We often do this mask in bifocals, but here it is with single vision corrective lenses. We would discourage the use of this mask for individuals with sphere corrrections greater than +4ish. If you have questions about whether this low volume mask would work for you, don't hesitate to reach out.
The Atomic Venom Frameless has quickly become our most popular dive mask/scuba goggle- recently overtaking the Scubapro Synergy 2. Here is the single lens dive mask with our prescription distance lenses.
Here is a Cressi low volume mask with our prescription distance lenses. This mask, while a bit smaller can accommodate mild to moderate prescriptions well.
The Scuba Pro Synergy Twin in the older version (since been updated with the Scuba Pro Synergy II Twin) is the all time best selling series of dive masks at See the Sea due to its unique twin skirt seal. Moderate and mild prescriptions will get close to 100% lens coverage. Stronger prescritpions may result in smaller lenses.
This is a mask a diver sent to us for distance lenses. Every pair of prescription lenses we make is custom to your specific mask and prescritpion.
The Hunter mask is one of the less expensive masks we offer (But still a quality mask)- here we installed very strong prescription lenses (Over -20), but in general we recommend a different mask for stronger prescriptions.
Here is a Hunter low volume mask with prescription lenses. The hunter mask is also shown above right, with a much stronger prescription. You can see here how much larger the prescription area is with a moderate strength correction.
The M100, one of our most popular stocked masks, is shown here in the aluminum frame with clear skirt. This is with a fairly strong distance correction, and the m100 is recommended for stronger prescriptions over the Hunter mask for example.
The M100 Color Correction is one of the newer masks we stock at See the Sea. It provivdes a mirror lens and a magenta tint to provide more vivid colors at depth. Here the M100 is outfitted with custom distance prescription lenses.
The Scubapro Spectra Mini is one of our more popular masks for medium to smaller faced individuals. It also can accommodate stronger prescriptions.
The M200 pictured here and to the right in the discontinued yellow color, is my favorite mask for smaller faces and also it accomodates strong plus lenses. It features an aluminum frame and is available in clear and black skirts.
The m200 dive mask is also avialable in color correcting mirrored lenses. This is a special order item.
We used to stock the Oceanic Enzo, pictured above. We still can provide it on special requests and it can accommodate mild to moderate prescriptions well.
The Scubapro ghost mask with prescription lenses. We would only encourage the use of this single lens low volume diving mask for very mild prescriptions.
This is the most popular color of the Scubapro Spectra Mini- clear and blue with prescription distance lenses.
Here is a Seac spearfishing mask a diver sent in for prescription lenses. As we make all our prescription lenses custom, we were able to match the shape of the mask for this final product.
The Aqualung Mission dive mask has a unique shape which we matched with the prescription lenses here used to correct astigmatism for this diver.
The Atomic Frameless is a single lens dive mask available on See the Sea. We are able to install our prescription lenses on single lens masks, and you can see the final product here used to correct for distance and astigmatism.
The Atomic Subframe is likely the sturdiest twin lens mask we stock. The lenses installed in this mask are fairly strong, and the subframe can accommodate most prescription lenses. If your prescription is stronger than +/-6 in either way, we may suggest another mask.

If you take your glasses off to read...

If you take your glasses off to read on land, you may want to consider the below option when building out your single vision prescription lenses. This option, a check box in the build out processes, tells us to leave space at the bottom of the mask without prescription so you can see your gauges or computer clearly. If you need further assistance seeing your dive computer, you may want to consider bifocals. 

The M200 dive mask pictured here with our "see under" option, leaves space under the prescription lens for the diver to see their gauges without correction.
The scubapro synergy II with see under space. This can be customized to be as high or low as you would like.

Picking a dive mask for prescription lenses can seem to be a stressful task. Hopefully after seeing available options for various prescription ranges, we have made the selection a little easier. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and be sure to check out our other articles for more information. 

Josh

Josh

Josh runs See the Sea RX and has been diving for over 20 years, 15 of which have been as an instructor and trip leader.

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Bifocal Scuba Dive Mask Gallery

Bifocal dive mask lens gallery

Recently, I published a post on different bifocal scuba mask options, but I wanted to create a post with more images, so you can see examples of more options for bifocal lenses in your mask or when ordering a mask from us. Bifocal lenses correct distance vision as well as providing an add power for the near vision section. No more struggling to see your gauges or dive computer. Our prescription dive mask lenses- made custom to your prescription can be produced in as little as three days with rush fees (standard processing is 2-3 business weeks. for more information on our rush options, click here). 

Standard and ST35 Bifocals

Below are images of standard and ST35 bifocal masks. The main difference between the two bifocal types is the ST35 gives the diver a bit more near vision room. 

Tusa Freedom Ceos Dive Mask with bifocals. These lenses were installed in the customer's own mask, and due to the smaller size of the CEOS mask the prescription lenses provide almost 100% lens coverage.
The Hollis M3 is a popular twin lens mask. We do not sell the Hollis line, but this mask was sent int by a customer. Twin lens masks are my preffered masks for prescription lenses in general.
This mask was sent to us by a diver for bifocal lenses.
The M100 dive mask is one of our most popular masks on the See the Sea site. The masks costs under $100 before lenses despite its aluminium frame. The m100 is a great average fit mask, and it can accommodate stronger prescriptions.
Many divers are unsure whether single lens masks can accommodate prescription lenses. Here is a scubapro crystal vu with bifocal lenses installed. While the lines are difficult to see in this image, the mask does have the standard lined bifocal.
The Scuba Pro Synergy II remains the most popular mask on See the Sea. We have installed lenses in more Synergy II masks than any other mask in our history. The final lens product comes out near edge to edge on the Synergy, including here on this bifocal.
Seadive masks several mask models with a UV blocking lens. UV blocking lenses are becoming more popular in dive masks to help reduce exposure at the surface. Here we installed bifocals in a customer's mask.
Here is another Synergy II with bifocal lenses installed. We no longer stock the pink color, but can bring it in on special requests.
As previously stated, the Synergy II is our most popular dive mask. The clear and blue is also the most popular color. Bifocal lenses help scuba divers see their gauges, computers, and camera controls while also correcting distance vision.
The Tusa Paragon is another mask that blocks UV light. Here is a Paragon with lenses from See the Sea.
An Atomic Frameless dive mask with prescription bifocals installed at See the Sea RX in Houston.
This is a Deep See single lens dive mask with traditional bifocals installed. One questions a diver has to answer when picking a new mask is whether to get a black or clear skirt. Clear skirts do allow in more light but tend to yellow over time. Black masks are favored by underwater photographers.

Franklin Bifocal dive masks

Franklin bifocals are custom made by hand in our lab in Houston, Texas. The Franklin is the ultimate custom option for divers that want the most room for near correction. The franklin is fully custimizable, so divers can choose exactly what percentage of the lens they want for near and distance correction. Professional photographers often have more than 50% of the lens corrected for near and only a small portion for distance as the majority of their time is spent looking at a monitor or camera controls within arm reach distance. 
Another benefit of Franklin bifocals are for those with strong corrections. We can achieve an overall thinner lens design by using high index glass for both distance and near lenses in the mask. 
Franklin orders are not available online, and divers should call for pricing. 

The Atomic Venom Frameless mask is one of our favorites for franklin bifocals. This is the mask I am currently diving, and the seal even works for some of us with facial hair.
Another Atomic Venom Frameless mask with prescription Franklin lenses installed here in our lab.
Scuba Pro Synergy II with prescription Franklin Bifocals.
Atomic Frameless mask with Franklin Bifocals to correct both near and distance vision.
The M100 aluminum frame dive mask with frankklin lenses fora high correction.
Franklin lenses also provide more correction than a standard dive mask bifocal in single lens masks. Here are Franklin Bifocals installed in a Scubapro Gorilla mask.

If you need any help deciding what dive mask would work best for you or what lenses will work with your prescription, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Stay safe and Happy Diving!

-Josh & The Team 

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Prescription Dive Mask with Color Correcting Lenses

Tinted lenses for color correction and Scuba diving


Seeing unique colors and seascapes we don’t normally encounter is one of the joys of snorkeling and scuba diving. Water, however, can limit some of our perception of color as we descend. Water and light interact differently than how we experience light on land. One of the most noticeable differences is color.

Water absorbs color as you descend, which in turn means, the coral reef becomes less vibrant. The water column absorbs colors in the order of the rainbow. Red is lost first, in as little as 20 feet. 

We receive frequent requests from snorkelers and divers about tinted and color correcting lenses for prescription lenses. 

In this post, and in the video above, I will discuss the advantages (And draw backs) of tinted lens dive masks, options available, and costs. 

Coral Reef in Mexico- Photographed by Josh with a Sony RX100 VI, Ikelite Housing, and DS160 strobe in December 2019.

advantages of color correcting lenses for prescription dive masks

The largest benefit of tinted lenses for underwater use is the color contrast and clarity by shifting the light as it passes through the tinted lenses. The mirrored finish on some of the tinted lenses can also reduce glare at the surface for those who are more sensitive to the sun.

One of the disadvantages, anytime you add a filter, you are reducing, even if slightly, the overall amount of light entering your eye.

I find the color shift to be pleasantly subtle, and after a moment or two of wearing the lenses, I often forget I am wearing a tinted lens dive mask, until I take it off. 

who should (and shouldn't) use tinted lenses while scuba diving?

Jay diving in Cancun, as shot by Josh, with a tinted scuba pro spectra dive mask with prescription single vision lenses.

Bringing back color sounds awesome?! Tinted lenses designed for scuba diving enhance the dive, but they are not for everyone. 

Who they are good for:

– Snorkelers & Divers who want to enjoy more color during a divce.

– Divers and snorkelers who are light sensitive. The tinted lenses often come with a mirror tint which can reduce glare at the surface.

Who should not use tinted lenses:

– Photographers and videographers. Any lens tint reduces the total amount of light that reaches the eye 

how to order a prescription dive mask

Currently,  we offer the M100 color correcting dive mask for divers and snorkelers that want color correcting and glare reducing features of a tinted lens dive mask. To order, simply go to our prescription dive mask order page. The M100 Color Correcting costs $124.00 and is available in all lens types including single vision (distance), bifocals, and reading glass. 

We recently published an article explaining the differences between our bifocal dive mask options. 

 

Can I order prescription lenses for my own tinted lens mask?

Yes! All our prescription lens options are available for your scuba diving mask even if it has color correcting lenses. Simply go to our prescription scuba mask lens order page, and click “I have a mask”. You can then select from available lens options and send us your mask!