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Reading Lens Options for Scuba Masks

Trouble seeing your gauges?

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

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

Custom reading lenses installed in dive masks

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

Some examples of diving masks with reading lenses

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

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

How much do dive masks with reading lenses cost?

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

Can you put reading lenses in any dive mask?

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

Special considerations

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

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

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

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

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

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


Picture of Josh


Josh 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.