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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 prominent nasal bridges which may be compressed with twin lens dive masks. We frequently get calls from scuba divers and snorkelers asking if we can make prescription lenses for their single lens dive masks or get a dive mask from us with single lenses and a prescription. The short answer is yes, and in this article, I am going to discuss some of the confusing nomenclature regarding prescription dive masks (such as single lens vs single vision), different single lens options, and some of the advantages (and disadvantages) of getting prescription lenses such as bifocals, single vision, and readers put into a single lens dive mask.

Black Skirt Dive mask with reading glass installed in the bottom
Hollis M-1 with custom reading lenses installed by See the Sea RX in Houston

What is the difference between a single lens and a twin lens dive mask?

This one is pretty fairly straight forward. Below I have two examples of masks with prescription lenses installed. One is the Atomic Aquatics subframe with custom st-35 bifocals (the st-35 bifocals have a slightly larger reading area for those that do more macro work such as photographers. You can read my article on the different bifocal options for dive masks here)- the other is a Tusa Single Lens Dive Mask (with an Anti-UV coating).

Atomic Subframe- a TWIN lens dive mask with custom oversize bifocals installed by See the Sea RX
A TUSA single lens dive mask with custom single vision lenses made in our lab. We do get questions rom divers about installing lenses with dive masks with coatings, and this is not an issue for us as seen here.

The Tusa mask has one single piece of front glass, while the Atomic Subframe has two lens pieces separated by a nasal bridge. Some single lens masks are marketed as “frameless” consisting of just the skirt and the lens, and no frame portion (such as the atomic frameless 1 and 2).

We can install lenses in both, as you can see in the above images. Aesthetically, I prefer the look of twin lens masks with prescription lenses as the prescription lenses will be made per eye and installed in the dive mask; however, functionally there is no difference.

You can get both single and twin lens dive masks in clear and black skirts (I talk more about differences in skirt colors in my article on picking the right mask for prescription lenses here, and a video on YouTube we uploaded here).

What is the difference between single lens and single vision?

This one is a little more confusing for some divers not used to these terms. Single lens refers to the dive mask construction and single vision relates to vision correction. Single Vision lenses correct for a single distance, typically distance for nearsighted folks like me. Here is my Scuba Pro D-Mask with prescription lenses (single vision) before a recent dive in Sint Maarten.

Here are the different type of prescription lenses:

Single Vision Correct for one vision distance. Typically distance. Can correct for astigmatism, include prism correction for those with strabismus, and can be made custom to your exact prescription.

Bifocal Lenses- These lenses correct for two distances. As we age, our lenses lose elasticity, and it becomes more difficult for our eyes to accommodate for near vision and reading. Those of us that wear glasses to correct for distance (nearsighted mostly) will over time likely need a multifocal correction of some sort.

Reading Lenses Reading lenses are a special type of single vision lenses that we produce and are installed in the bottom of the dive mask for divers that have developed presbyopia (the loss of lens elasticity discussed in the bifocal description), but who do not need distance correction (or only minimal distance correction that they do not want to correct). Single lens masks are a favorite for divers who want readers, due to the oversize readers we can produce for them. Check out my article on custom prescription readers for the Atomic Venom mask here.

Other considerations for single lens dive masks:

Single lens dive masks have oversize lenses, which makes them particularly useful for one type of prescription lens we make- the franklin bifocal. The franklin bifocal is a fully custom bifocal where we make two lenses per eye (one for distance one for near) and we can make the percentage size of each two completely to order. For example, those that do primarily video or photo work and want up to 80% of their lens space used for near vision, we can do that. We frequently use the Atomic Venom Frameless for this purpose.

A clear frame dive mask with reading glass
Atomic Aquatics Frameless Dive Mask with custom reading lenses installed at See the Sea RX in Houston

pictures of single lens dive masks with prescription lenses

What single lens dive masks can have prescription lenses installed

Single lens masks we stock and make custom prescription lenses for in our in house lab:

Atomic Frameless Mask
Atomic Venom Frameless

We also have access to the Scuba Pro Frameless and Gorilla mask although we do not keep it on hand.

Single lens masks we do not stock, but are able to install prescription lenses:
Hollis M1
Cressi F Dual Mask
JBL Seeker
Mares Essence
TUSA Freedom HD
TUSA Paragon S Mask
SeaDive Eagleye
TUSA Zensee Pro Mask
Aqua Lung Linea Mask
Synergy 2 Trufit Dive Mask (SINGLE Lens- there is also a twin lens synergy 2 which we do stock)

And many other quality single lens dive masks not listed.

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.