Last Updated on January 19, 2024 by Ali Hamza
Catching a glimpse of a remarkable and unforgettable underwater world is usually only open to those of us who are trained divers. However, snorkelling is becoming an ever-more popular pastime or holiday activity. Not only does it not require any type of formal training (unlike SCUBA diving) but almost anyone can enjoy it. With the correct equipment even a novice swimmer can enjoy snorkelling.
Usually the only limiting factor for budding snorkellers is eyewear. For those of us lucky enough to have 20/20 vision this is usually not an issue. Most snorkel locations offer snorkel masks for rent. And they are usually pretty cheap.
But what about those of us who are not so fortunate and need to use corrective lenses? Being able to see the fish becomes a bit more difficult because on-site you are unlikely to be able to find a mask with exactly your required lens prescription.
This is where we would suggest looking to purchase your own prescription snorkel mask.
What to look for in a Snorkel Mask:
There are numerous different types of prescription masks. They vary in quality, usability and price. These are the 3 main types:
- Inserts: Inserts are usually small plastic lenses that are inserted into a regular snorkel mask. They are usually quite cost effective – but not always practical. If you are looking to do a single snorkelling trip, then you might get away with using these. They don’t offer great vision correction and can often fall out if used multiple times or for a long time. But they are very cheap and therefore more accessible to most of us.
- Single-Strength Lenses: These are normally solid glass optical lenses for a single focal strength (like -2.5, etc.). Masks fitted with these lenses last much longer and are re-usable. They generally cost a little more than inserts but offer the best value-for-money of all 3 options.
As regards vision correction, if you have a great degree of astigmatism then these might not be suitable for you as they do not offer varifocal properties. They are most similar to reading glasses picked up in almost any pharmacy or drugstore. So if you are able to pick up a pair of these reading glasses and be able to see through them, then a mask like this would fit you perfectly.
- Professional Optician’s Lenses: These will be lenses ground specifically for your exact prescription. You will usually need to see a specialist optician to have these custom made for you. These are the most expensive and professional quality lenses (usually costing hundreds of dollars or pounds). Therefore, they are often out of the price range of the enthusiast snorkeller, and are usually reserved for professionals like underwater photographers, etc.
Everyone should be able to enjoy the wonder and splendour that is the underwater world. Snorkelling really is an amazing pastime and adventure. Don’t let your eyesight hinder you or put you off from doing it. Prescription snorkel masks are available for all – from amateur enthusiasts to hard-core professionals.