Posted on

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

Read More »
Posted on

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.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

Our new lab is open! (Important address change)

A prescription dive mask with custom lenses sits on a table in front of a photo of a sea turtle.

See the sea rx opens larger lab in Houston

When I first started See the Sea RX, i was a diver frustrated with the prescription dive mask options available on the market. 

I remember being so scared after installing all our equipment that we would never receive an order. I never expected the tremendous response we have received and the thousands and thousands of divers, swimmers, and snorkelers who have trusted us with seeing clear in the water. 

I am excited to announce our next chapter: we have fully completed our transition to our larger lab with almost double the work space of our home for the last few years. 

Please take note of our new address, which is the best place to visit us, send us your dive mask for prescription lenses (such as bifocals), or shoot us some of your underwater photos to hang up:

See the Sea RX
8700 Long Point Road
Suite 203
Houston, Texas 77055

We have worked to update the address everywhere we can find, but if you find a spot it needs to be updated, please let us know!

A prescription dive mask with custom lenses sits on a table in front of a photo of a sea turtle.
Scubapro D-Mask with custom prescription lenses installed at our new lab space.
Posted on

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 type, turnaround time needed, the specific mask selected, and prescription strength can all effect the cost of your mask. As someone who wears prescription glasses (and dive masks) myself, I understand the considerations that go into the cost, and weighing the benefit. I can tell you that nothing beats descending to a gorgeous dive site and seeing everything sharper than I can even on land at times. In this article, I will discuss the different underwater vision products, what they can correct, and what they cost.

Stock lens dive masks $100-200ish

Stock lens masks use PREMADE lenses that work for a range of distance only corrections in the range of -8.00 to +4.00 SPHERICAL only correction. What this means is these masks are available for a relatively low price (in several mask options) in a range of prescriptions; however, these masks do NOT correct for astigmatism or prism, and they are not made in bifocals. If you have a simple (spherical only correction or a correction with very mild astigmatism within the range listed above), the stock lens masks are a great option. For those divers and snorkelers like me that have astigmatism, these masks do not work well. These lenses are available only for the masks we list on the stock lens page such as the scubapro d mask and the m200.

 

The m200 dive mask which is avilabale with stock lenses

Prescription Swim Goggles: Starting at $245

Prescription swim goggles are a great option for those that do surface swimming. We can correct a wide variety of vision needs including prism for strabismus, bifocals, and very strong corrections (we have done up to a -28!). Extras such as bifocals, tints, and polarized lenses can increase the costs. 
I have some articles on our prescription swim goggles which provide information as well:

Prescription swim goggles with transition lenses.

Prescription Full Face Snorkel Masks: Starting at $185

Some snorkelers really like being able to breath not just through their mouth but through their noses as well, which the prescription full face snorkel masks allow.

Our prescription full face snorkel masks can correct for a wide variety of corrections including options for prism, bifocals, and astigmatism correction. Adding bifocals or choosing the Aria QR+ version will increase costs slightly.

These masks cannot be used for diving (Although we do make prescription lenses for full face diving masks as well). ‘

The insert system allows prescriptions to be easily updated if your prescription changes   

Custom Prescription Dive Masks: Starting at $165

Custom lenses for prescription dive masks are our hallmark product. Our lenses are available in options such as reading lens only at the bottom of the mask, single vision lenses (distance correction only), bifocals for distance and near correction, and the custom prescription lenses can correct for astigmatism (the cylinder correction on your prescription) and double vision or strabismus (corrected with prism).

The costs can vary for the custom prescription lenses and whether you are using your mask or getting a mask from us. We can use any quality dive mask with flat glass lenses. If you are getting a mask from us, our dive masks start at $60.00. Our custom lenses take approximately two business weeks to produce here in our Houston lab, but rush options are available for a fee. Custom bifocals in a high end mask can cost $400.00.

Up close view of a scuba pro d-mask with bifocal lenses
Scubapro D-Mask with custom prescription bifocals

Whether you have a relatively simple prescription or complex, we have a dive mask or swim goggle to ensure you can see clear underwater.

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.

Posted on

Rebreather Diving (With my Prescription Dive Mask) on the Fu Sheng Wreck in Sint Maarten

Rebreather diving in Sint Maarten

One of the ways we are differentiated is the fact that we are divers, not just opticians and optical techs. While the last two years have been challenging for us and others in the dive industry, I was finally able to start getting back in the water this year. The video above highlights a recent awesome dive we we are able to do on a wreck in Sint Maarten. For those wondering, I dive a prescription scubapro d mask with single vision lenses. 

I like to write about some of my dive travels with my own prescription dive mask and share them with you all.

In this article, I will also cover specific prescription dive mask concerns for rebreather divers.  (Be sure to check out my video above highlight the whole dive).

Dive mask and scuba equipment.
My Scubapro d mask with prescription lenses sitting on my Hollis Prism 2 rebreather.

What is a rebreather?

A diver underwater with a rebreather diving along a wreck
Aiar diving his prism 2 rebreather on the Fu Sheng wreck in Sint Maarten

In Scuba, we have a compressed air tank attached to a diving regulator (a first and second stage). Every time we inhale the regulator provides us (normally) air (or nitrox, or even other gases, depending on the dive) at the surrounding pressure, so our lungs can inflate. Every-time you exhale, all the air in your lungs exits the regulator as bubbles. The human body, however, is not so efficient as to extract all the available oxygen in a single breath of the same gas, so the bubbles contain a significant amount of wasted oxygen. If there was a way to recycle this air, you could extend your time diving.

On a simple level, this is what a rebreather accomplishes. Instead of all your exhaled air exiting as bubbles, you exhale into a counter-lung. The exhaled air then moves across a scrubber removing the carbon dioxide. As the oxygen in the breathing loop decreases, you either manually add, or the rebreather adds pure oxygen to the loop to keep your breathing gas at an ideal mixture. 

Prescription dive mask concerns for rebreather divers

If you are a rebreather diver, and like me need corrective lenses, there are a few unique concerns that open circuit divers don’t face. 

While heads up displays and computers for recreational divers have recently seen a surge in popularity (like the Scubapro Galileo HUD), they are a mainstay in rebreather diving. Rebreathers either utilize a heads up display (HUD) with a series of different color lights to indicate different rebreather conditions or a computer with a full digital display that can provide more information than the more basic HUDs. The most popular HUD computer is the Shearwater NERD, which I personally use on my Prism 2 now. 

The shearwater NERD uses a special lens to focus the display when the diver is looking at a distance, despite the computer sitting inches away from the diver’s face. This allows the diver to be watching his or her surroundings while also having the dive computer screen in focus. If the diver utilizes bifocals or readers in their dive mask, however, the near vision portion of the lens is not suitable for viewing the NERD (While beneficial to a standard light HUD). For rebreather divers who utilize bifocals or reading glass for near vision, we generally suggest using only distance lenses on the side of the mask they view the NERD (normally the right eye).  For more information on our bifocal lens scuba mask options, please read my article here. 

We are also able to produce fully customized lenses that include a reading section at the top of the lens instead of the bottom of the lens, where the NERD is placed, so the diver can use the top of the lens for photography or other macro work. 

Whether you dive a rebreather or open circuit scuba, our diving experience allows us to help you pick the right prescription lens for your needs. Feel free to give us a all or shoot us a message. Our prescription lenses are installed in house in our lab in Houston and are able to provide corrections for astigmatism, double vision, and other unique needs.

The Fu Sheng wreck in 110 feet of water in Sint Maarten- A great dive for a rebreather.

Diving the fu sheng wreck in Sint maarten/st. martin

A dive boat on the surface of the water
Dive Sint Maarten's boat waiting for us at the surface following our hour long dive on the Fu Sheng wreck.

During my time on St. Martin, I dive the Fu Sheng wreck, a dive I have been trying to do since arriving on the island. The wreck, nestled in about 110 feet off the coast of St. Matin, remains largely in tact. The wreck sank unintentionally, and is one of the older wrecks on the island.

The wreck hosts a variety of marine life including garden eels, moray eels, rays, and a mix of coral.

Diving the wreck on my rebreather allowed me a dive time of just over an hour with only a short deco time of 20 minutes on the way to the surface. 

Additional resources

For diving in St. Martin, I have used both of these operations, which have supported rebreather diving (and recreational open circuit). I do not receive anything in exchange for recommending them, and I found them to both be great dive centers.

Ocean Explorers Dive Center in Simpson bay

Dive Sint Maarten in Philipsburg

 

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.

Posted on

How to Care for your Prescription Scuba Diving Mask

Prescription dive mask for scuba diving on tank and bcd.

How to care for your prescription dive mask:

Ordering a prescription dive mask is a great investment in your diving or snorkeling life, and it can range from a luxury for those with weaker vision correction to an absolute necessity for divers, swimmers, or snorkelers with strong prescriptions. Once you receive your mask, proper care can ensure years of use. I often get asked by divers, how do you take care of your new prescription dive mask?

Prescription dive mask for scuba diving on tank and bcd.
My scubapro d mask with prescription lenses before some recent dives in St. Martin

In this article, I will go over our suggestions for care and maintenance of your new prescription dive mask. These instructions will pertain to our custom prescription dive mask products and NOT to prescription swim goggle or full face snorkel masks. Prescription full face snorkel masks and swim goggles have lenses that are generally polycarbonate (same for the full face diving masks from OTS and Oceanreef which we make lenses for as well) while prescription dive masks use glass lenses. This makes a huge difference as glass lenses can tolerate defog and even products like sea buff which has some grit. Those products would damage polycarbonate or plastic lenses.

For those that want the quick answers without reading my full article, here are the general do’s and don’ts with your prescription dive mask:

  • Do use defog before diving
  • Do clean your mask lenses with sea buff or a small amount of dish soap if desired
  • Do be careful when transporting your mask in checked bags (I recommend taking your mask in your carryon bag). Add some padding to the mask case if possible.
  • Do rinse your mask off after diving
  • Do NOT take an open flame or heat to your dive mask lenses to “burn off” any film.
  • Do NOT leave your mask out in the sun

How to care for your prescription dive mask when you first get it:

As all of us scuba divers are told when we are first trained to scrub a new mask when we receive it, to remove any film from the production process that will prevent mask defog from working. While this is correct for any off the shelf mask, our lenses are custom made, and we complete both a scrub and burn off process of the prescription and mask lenses before the installation and shipment; however, you are welcome to scrub your lenses further with toothpaste or seabuff without hurting the lenses.

 

Some masks like the scubapro dmask have a UV / reflective coating on the outside of the lenses which can be damaged with scrubbing. Be sure to refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for your specific mask.

Holding on to my prescription dive mask (scuba pro d mask), while checking out my dive computer pre-dive.

Can I use a lighter to burn my prescription dive mask lenses?

DO NOT USE HEAT OR A FLAME TO TREAT YOUR LENSES. We burn the lenses prior to installation, but heat after the installation is likely to damage the laminate in the glass and will not be covered by our warranty.

How should I treat my prescription dive mask before a dive?

You can treat your prescription dive mask like any normal mask before a dive. Use your favorite defog before the dive (I like sea drops, and I have no fogging in my scubapro d-mask with lenses).

One of the biggest ways divers break their prescription (and nonprescription dive masks) is dropping them onto hard boat decks, docks, rocks (we have even seen some stepped on).

After your dive, like with any other dive equipment, be sure to rinse off any saltwater or chlorine with fresh water before packing your dive gear for the day. Do not leave your mask out in the sun as that can cause color bleaching.

Whether you have bifocals, reading lenses, single vision, or other corrective lenses in your scuba mask from See the Sea, proper care of the mask will lead to years of clear diving.

One last note- When traveling, I encourage divers to carry their mask on instead of using a checked bag as a lost or damaged checked bag containing your prescription dive mask is a sure way to miss out on some clear dives. 

My dive gear laid out for inspection the night before my dives. My prescription dive mask is in its soft case on top of my BCD.
Picture of 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.

Posted on

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!

Picture of 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.

Posted on

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. 

Picture of 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.

Posted on

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.
Picture of 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.