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Earth’s Tectonic Plates with Prescription ScubaPro Dive Mask

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

Diving in Iceland

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

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

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

Scuba Diving Between Tectonic Plates

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

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

 

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

 

Overall it is a unique once in a lifetime experience.

Cold water prescription scuba mask concerns


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

Non diving Iceland Activities

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Josh

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

Single Lens Dive Mask and Prescription Lenses

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

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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

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 »
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Prescription Dive Masks for Strong Plus (Farsighted) Lenses

My glasses are thick- can I even go diving?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Best Dive Masks for strong farsighted lenses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Picture of Josh

Josh

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

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Reading Lens Options for Scuba Masks

Trouble seeing your gauges?

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

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

Custom reading lenses installed in dive masks


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

Some examples of diving masks with reading lenses

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

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

How much do dive masks with reading lenses cost?

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

Can you put reading lenses in any dive mask?

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

Special considerations

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Picture of Josh

Josh

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

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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.

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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.

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New Accessory- Dive Signal Light

Dive light with metal housing and blue hue

At See the Sea RX, we primarily focus on our custom prescription dive masks but we do have a few accessories available for those making their dive mask purchase.

We recently added a few new products to the website, including the new scuba pro d-mask, but one accessory I am excited to have added is the new IST signal light. 

The signal light is a hybrid underwater flashlight / signal device. While many of us divers grew up placing glow sticks on our tank valves during night dives, the signal light can be attached to your tank instead for a much brighter and identifiable light source. Similar to the IST Apollo Light, the Signal Light is made from aluminum and feels sturdy in the hand. You might just feel a bit like a Jedi with the signal light in your hands. 

The signal light can also be used to gain attention from other divers and boats while on the surface. The signal portion of the light, the heavy polycarbonate piece, screws off and the signal light can be used as a backup dive light (although colored), down to 100m/330 feet. The signal light can be added to your dive mask order for $70.00 and comes with everything seen in the picture to the right (no battery included). Keep reading for more information on the signal light. 

Using the signal light as a dive light

The clear polycarbonate portion of the light is removable (I wouldn’t encourage doing this underwater, as it would be easy to lose), and the signal light can be used as a backup dive light. In the above two pictures, you can see the light after the polycarbonate portion has been removed. The signal light comes with a keyring on the bottom, and I suggest attaching a lanyard or another attachment device to prevent losing the light underwater. 

What about batteries?

The signal light requires one CR123 battery which last about two hours. The battery is not included. I highly encourage divers to use a rechargeable CR123, and there are various options available from other sources for the battery and charger.

The signal light comes in two colors, green (as seen to the left) and blue (as seen above). 

Both colors are very visible on the surface and underwater, but without the polycarbonate/ signal portion of the light attached, the green light will pierce a bit farther in the water and be brighter. 

How to order the signal light?

You can add the signal light to your prescription dive mask order during the order build out process. Once you have chosen your corrective lenses and mask (or selected to add prescription lenses to your mask), at the bottom of the order page, there is an accessory section that includes a few lights including the signal light. 

As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! Next time I go diving, I will try to add some pictures of the signal light in use!

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.

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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. 

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.

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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. 

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.

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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. 

Picture of 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