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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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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.