Snorkeling With Glasses (How To Do It)

snorkel mask with glasses

If you wear glasses, it can make diving in for a quick snorkel a little more complicated. Snorkeling involves a mask, you definitely need said mask, and simply wearing your glasses underneath it is, generally speaking, not the best idea for a few reasons.

First, your snorkel mask may not have the space for your glasses underneath. This can squish your glasses closer to your face, which is both uncomfortable and hinders your vision.

Second, your glasses can fog up. You can put defogger on them just like your mask, but you still run the risk of foggy lenses.

Third, clearing your mask can be difficult. There’s a chance you’ll end up with water droplets forming on your glasses during clearing that wouldn’t form on your mask alone. Yet another thing that will hinder your vision.

Since it’s not a good idea to simply wear your glasses under your snorkel mask, we’re laying out your options for snorkeling with glasses from the best (which is, unfortunately,  also the most expensive) to the most DIY, which can save you money but cause some issues.

Snorkeling with Contact Lenses

Some snorkelers choose to wear contact lenses when they snorkel. This can work if you regularly wear contact lenses, find them comfortable to wear, and are extra careful when clearing your mask.

If you never wear contact lenses, it’s not advisable to put them in once a year for a snorkeling excursion. Fifty yards from shore is not where you want to start getting stinging or fatigued eyes.

When clearing, you also run the risk of losing a contact. It’s unlikely, but water can rush in. Obviously, if you lose a contact snorkeling, you won’t be able to recover it (unless you like sticking a salty finger into your eye). So, you should be prepared for the possibility you’ll be returning to shore one eye down.

Prescription Snorkeling Masks

A prescription snorkeling mask is the best choice for a snorkeler who wears glasses. Prescription masks are just like prescription eyeglasses. The lenses themselves hold the prescription.

Since all the adjustments to prescription masks are done to the lens, you wear them just like you would a standard mask. This provides the most comfortable fit and the least issues. You can defog and clear your mask like normal.

Prescription masks have the added benefit of incorporating everything you need to properly and comfortably see, including bifocals and prism corrections. The combination of perfectly-fitted mask, plus accurate prescription puts prescription masks heads above the alternatives.

Of course, all those necessary additions cost more money, which is why prescription masks can run hundreds of dollars. This really only makes them practical for regular snorkelers.

Optical Snorkeling Masks vs DIY Snorkeling Masks

The next two options for snorkelers with glasses are on a similar level. Which one’s better really depends on your vision needs and how often you snorkel.

Optical Snorkeling Masks

Optical snorkeling masks are basically generic prescription masks. Instead of holding your exact prescription, they have basic corrective lenses that are similar to your prescription. Think of them like the rotating display of reading glasses you see in a drug store, only for snorkeling.

While optical snorkeling masks won’t give you perfect vision, they will give you very good vision, which, for most people, will be sufficient to see everything they want to see below the water.

Some masks even have bifocals for snorkelers whose problem is seeing up close.

Since the lenses themselves contain the corrections, an optical mask (like a prescription mask) fits like a standard snorkel mask.

And since the masks are manufactured in bulk, they are often less than half the price of prescription masks. That price can still be upwards of $100, though, which makes these masks expensive investments for first-time snorkelers who aren’t sure they’ll want to snorkel again.

The good news is that a lot of snorkel rental shops keep a supply of optical masks, so you can try one out before you buy.

DIY Snorkeling Masks

Now, we’re getting into the nitty-gritty, the homespun, the budget option extraordinaire.

Snorkelers who don’t snorkel often, who don’t want to pay the price for a prescription or optical mask, or who simply fancy themselves dedicated DIYers have come up with some clever ways of crafting their own prescription snorkel masks out of eyeglasses.

There are two main ways to do this –

Remove the lenses from a pair of eyeglasses and super glue them to the mask.

OR

Remove the temples (or arms) from a pair of eyeglasses and situate the armless frame into the mask.

Remove the lenses from a pair of eyeglasses and super glue them to the mask.

Just a dab of glue on one edge of the lens should hold it in place.

However, be very careful when attempting this option. Fingerprints and smudges left between the lens and mask will be impossible to remove once the two are glued together.

And if either lens comes loose while snorkeling, you’ll have a piece of glass moving around inside your mask.

Remove the temples (or arms) from a pair of eyeglasses and situate the armless frame into the mask.

Many people find the pressure of a well-fitted mask alone holds an eyeglass frame securely in place, but a frame can also be attached to the inside of a mask with superglue.

Supergluing the frame of an old pair of glasses inside the mask is usually the better option than gluing lenses alone because you don’t have to put glue on part of the viewing area and if they come unglued, they are still somewhat usable.

If you’re going the DIY route, I highly recommend trying the less nuclear option of removing eyeglass temples and simply placing the frame inside your snorkel mask first. The problem with the superglue option is, if you get it wrong, you’re out the cost of both the glasses/lenses and the mask.

Whatever option you choose, a DIY mask is subject to some of the same potential problems as simply wearing your glasses under a mask.  The lenses may fog up and clearing your mask can cause problems (loose frames may shift and water droplets may form on lenses).

Defogging the lenses and careful clearing can help, but may not prevent these issues entirely. Still, it’s a decent option in a pinch.

When it comes down to it, the best option for snorkeling with glasses depends on whether you’re only planning to snorkel once or twice, or if you plan to do it on a regular basis.

If you’re a first-timer looking for a one-off solution, setting an old eyeglass frame inside your mask or renting an optical mask is the way to go.

If you snorkel regularly and want the best visibility money can buy, make the investment in a prescription mask.

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