Can I Wear Glasses or Contact Lenses While Scuba Diving?

Scuba diving is an exhilarating adventure that allows us to explore the magnificent underwater world. However, if you wear glasses or contact lenses, you might wonder if it’s possible to enjoy this activity without compromising your vision. In this article, we will delve into the question of whether you can wear glasses or contact lenses while scuba diving and provide you with valuable insights and recommendations. So, let’s dive in!

Glasses or Contact Lenses While Scuba Diving

Scuba diving allows us to explore the breathtaking underwater world, but for those who rely on glasses or contact lenses for clear vision, the question arises: Can I wear them while scuba diving? The good news is that impaired vision doesn’t have to prevent you from exploring the underwater world. Let’s explore the options available for vision correction and find out how you can enjoy this adventure without compromising your sight.

Can I Wear Glasses While Scuba Diving?

When it comes to diving, wearing regular glasses is generally not recommended. However, it’s not because of the visual impairment itself but rather due to the design of the glasses. Later in this article, we will discuss alternative options that are available for divers with impaired vision.

The Challenge of Wearing Glasses Underwater

The primary issue with wearing glasses while diving is that a scuba diving mask needs to fit tightly against the face to create a proper seal underwater. When wearing glasses and a diving mask simultaneously, achieving this snug fit becomes difficult. The glasses create gaps and prevent the mask from adhering to the face, compromising its functionality.

Glasses and scuba diving

Modifying Glasses for Diving: A Risky Idea

Some individuals may consider modifying their glasses to fit under a diving mask, but this is generally not advisable. Homemade modifications can be unreliable and may not provide a secure fit. Additionally, attempting such modifications can be risky and potentially dangerous. It’s important to prioritize safety and rely on established solutions instead.

Instead of struggling to wear glasses while diving, a more reasonable and safer approach is to opt for prescription dive masks. These masks are specifically designed to accommodate divers with impaired vision. Prescription dive masks feature built-in corrective lenses, ensuring clear vision underwater without the need for glasses. More on that in a moment.

Can I wear regular swim goggles if I wear glasses?

No. Regular swimming goggles are not designed for diving. They do not have the necessary sealing and pressure equalization functions found in diving masks. The nose must be within the confines of the diving mask for all this to be possible. Swim goggles may be good for snorkeling at most.

Can I Wear Contact Lenses While Scuba Diving?

One of the commonly asked questions by our divers and snorkelers is whether it is possible to dive while wearing contact lenses. We have a straightforward answer to this query as well. Yes, it is possible to dive or snorkel while wearing soft contact lenses. However, it’s important to note that if you wear hard or gas permeable contact lenses, there might be exceptions.

According to the Divers Alert Network (DAN), a renowned organization focused on diving safety, diving with hard contacts can potentially lead to issues related to suction pressure or eye irritation if air bubbles form inside the lens. If you opt to dive with soft contact lenses, it is crucial to exercise caution if you need to remove your mask or if it becomes flooded during the dive. Closing your eyes when removing the mask can prevent the lenses from getting lost.

Flooded water has the potential to wash away the delicate lens from your eye. While encountering problems with soft contact lenses underwater is extremely rare, it may be wise to carry a re-wetting eye drop solution in your dive kit in case the lens adheres to your eye due to excessive pressure during the dive.

Can I wear my daily disposable contact lenses while scuba diving?

Daily disposable contact lenses are designed to be worn for a single day and then discarded. They are convenient and hygienic, as there is no need for cleaning and storing them. Diving with such lenses is quite a good idea, but remember that it is best to change them immediately after the dive. Contact with salt water is unlikely to have a positive effect on them, so it’s better to wash your face with fresh water after diving and change to new lenses.

Contact Lenses and Scuba Diving

Challenges of Wearing Contact Lenses while Scuba Diving

While wearing contact lenses while diving seems like a good and effective solution, there are a few apsects you need to pay attention to. If you use contact lenses on a daily basis, you certainly know how to take care of eye hygiene and cleanliness of the lenses themselves. However, in diving, there are a few more issues.

Water Pressure

One of the main concerns with wearing contact lenses while scuba diving is the water pressure exerted at greater depths. The increased pressure can cause the contact lenses to compress onto the cornea, leading to discomfort, blurred vision, and potentially eye damage. Moreover, the tight fit of the mask can also contribute to lens displacement or loss.

Saltwater and Irritation

Saltwater, which is prevalent in most dive sites, can cause irritation and dryness in the eyes. Contact lenses may exacerbate these symptoms, leading to discomfort and potential complications. Additionally, the saltwater can contaminate the lenses, making them less effective and increasing the risk of infection.

Risk of Loss

The fast-paced and dynamic nature of scuba diving increases the risk of losing contact lenses. A sudden movement, strong currents, or accidental contact with equipment can dislodge the lenses from the eyes, making them difficult to find or replace underwater.

What should I do if my contact lens falls out during a dive?

I’m fortunate that I don’t wear lenses or glasses myself, so I don’t know from practice what it feels like when your lens falls out. However, I do know that trying to insert it underwater is definitely a bad idea. Even if by some miracle you manage to put it in place, it won’t do much for cleanliness, and the salt that gets under the lens can be unpleasant to say the least. If the lens falls out of your eye during the dive, you actually have two options. Continue diving if the discomfort is not so great or terminate the dive.

Prescription Scuba Diving Masks

The optimal solution available is a scuba diving mask equipped with prescription lenses. These lenses can be custom-made to accurately match your specific vision impairment, transforming a regular diving mask into a vision-enhancing tool underwater. If you are thinking seriously about diving, and not as a one-time adventure, then an investment in such a mask will simply be necessary.

Prescription Scuba Diving Mask

Is it possible to get prescription lenses for my existing mask?

The answer is not so simple. Unfortunately, not all masks and not all manufacturers offer replaceable corrective lenses. Therefore, the best thing to do when choosing a diving mask is to advise a good dive store whether a particular model has corrective lenses available. Remember that the mask must ensure seal, so the corrective lenses must be designed for a specific model. You can not just put them into another mask….

Glasses or Contact Lenses While Scuba Diving – let’s recap

In conclusion, wearing glasses or contact lenses while scuba diving is possible with the right vision correction solutions and precautions. Prescription masks and specialized contact lenses offer divers the opportunity to explore the underwater world with clarity and comfort. Ensure proper fit, clear communication, and follow the provided tips to enhance your diving experience. So, gear up, dive in, and witness the wonders beneath the surface while keeping your vision crystal clear!

costa rica divers instructor

PADI MSDT #384513


Peter "Pedro" Sawicki

My life has always been linked to sports commonly considered extreme. I once fell in love with big wall climbing, just as I am now in love with scuba diving. I climbed mountains, explored caves and took part in exploration expeditions. Through these experiences, I saw a large chunk of the world and learned a lot. Now I have been a professional diver and a scuba instructor for many years, and Costa Rica has become my second home. Check also my expedition project:

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