Prescription snorkel mask buying guide – How to choose the best one

Buying a prescription snorkel mask is a game changer for those who wear glasses, but don’t want to miss seeing the underwater world. This complete guide explains how to choose dive mask with corrective lenses, how to use contact lenses in the water and what other options such as magnifying lenses are available nowadays.

How can you snorkel if you wear glasses or contact lenses?

Snorkeling or scuba diving with bad eyesight is absolutely not an issue anymore. There are many solutions available from cheap quick fixes to professional solutions that will provide glass wearers with a clear view underwater.

What to do if you want to go snorkeling or diving but have vision problems?

  • use the magnifying effect of the water
  • put glasses inside the mask
  • wear normal day contact lenses
  • add magnifying lenses to your mask
  • change the lenses of your current snorkeling mask
  • buy a prescription snorkeling mask
  • order a customized mask (for complex problems)

Enjoy the underwater magnification

You probably noticed that things look bigger underwater so it is good to keep this fact in mind. Water magnifies objects about 30%, meaning that everything will appear a bit bigger and closer. If you have a very slight vision problem, it can happen that you won’t need a special prescription mask for snorkeling because the water’s magnifying effect will provide some correction.

Wear your glasses inside your snorkel mask

If you have old glasses that you don’t mind to sacrifice, glue them on the inside of your mask. This DIY snorkel mask for glass wearers can work for occasional snorkelers who don’t want to invest in a prescription model, however this is not a professional or long-lasting solution.

Use contact lenses

Many people ask if you can wear contact lenses while snorkeling and the answer is definitely yes! Modern contact lenses are very comfortable so they are safe to use even in the water. They are designed for your eyes so they will provide the best vision, while staying almost unnoticeable.

For snorkeling or any other water activity, wear soft day contacts. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to close your eyes when removing your mask in the water preventing the lenses to be washed away.

Get dive mask magnifying lenses

A cheap but very good solution for those who normally use reading glasses only. The removable prescription dive mask inserts work the best if you don’t have complicated eye problems. They provide help with reading close things underwater like the screen of your waterproof camera or dive watch.

Dive mask magnifying lenses

  • work like putting reading glasses into your mask
  • easy-to-use stick-in lenses
  • compatible with all masks

Choose mask with drop-in lenses

It is also a good option to choose a scuba mask with changeable lenses. Bigger dive gear manufacturers like TUSA offer some of their most popular masks with removable lenses. These can be easily replaced by the diver to the matching prescription ones.

TUSA Liberator Plus mask

  • classical 2-window design with wide field of view
  • low volume, comfortable design
  • drop-in prescription lenses available
  • wide variety of colors

A very good solution for those who expect the need of different strengths by time, so they don’t have to buy the whole mask again just the lenses. Consider checking the TUSA Liberator prescription dive mask!

Buy prescription snorkeling mask with pre-made lenses

The best value for money solution to get a new prescription mask with pre-made lenses. Usually, pre-made corrective lenses are available for near sight from -1.0 to -10.0 and for far sight from +1.0 to +4.0 by increments of 0.5 in both cases depending on the manufacturer. Sometimes bifocal lenses are also available. Different prescription strengths can be ordered for each eye. See below our top picks in the category!

Order custom-made corrective lenses

This is the most expensive solution but the best if you need special lenses to correct astigmatism. You can contact dive shops who are specialized in prescription dive masks and can customize it to your personal needs. They can either change the lenses of your old mask, or offer you a new prescription scuba mask.

Tip: If you need help with buying snorkel gear, read how to choose mask for snorkeling, see the best snorkel fins and don’t forget about sun protection clothing.

How to choose prescription snorkel mask?

To provide you the best sight, you need a snorkeling mask with corrective lenses that have the closest match to your everyday glasses.

To decide what is the best prescription snorkeling mask for you, consider the following factors:

  • how complicated vision problems you have
  • how often will you use the mask
  • how much do you want to spend on it

Prescription snorkel mask rental might be also an alternative option, but it is available at some destinations only, so if you snorkel often it is worth to buy your own corrective goggles. Like this, you will know that your gear is personalized to your needs.

How much does a prescription snorkel mask cost?

Formerly, custom-made prescription dive masks were available only through a few manufacturers and could cost 150-250 USD due to the special manufacturing process. But fortunately, now we have many more options to get snorkeling goggles for glass wearers. The price of a new prescription mask starts from approx. 50 USD, while the alternative solutions such as mask inserts are even cheaper.

Where to buy prescription snorkel mask?

If you need custom-made corrective lenses, you need to look for a dive shop who can order them for you and replace the original ones to the corrective ones. If you don’t have complex eye problems like double vision or astigmatism, you can simply order optical snorkeling mask from Amazon. You just choose the prescription and you get a brand-new mask with the correct lenses.

Nearsighted and farsighted versions are both available when ordering online and it is possible to get different strengths for each eye. Some manufacturers offer bifocal version too. Buying a prescription snorkel mask with pre-made corrective lenses offers the best value for money.

Best prescription masks for snorkeling and diving

IST Optical corrective snorkeling mask

A classical style, versatile snorkel goggles with corrective lenses at fair price from IST. The soft skirt provides comfortable wear. It is made from the highest quality hypoallergenic silicone making the product suitable for sensitive skin.

The low volume design offers a wide field of view, the frame fits the best for narrow face divers. Swivelling buckles allow fine adjustments to achieve the perfect fit. New wider split strap ensures that the strap won’t push your head painfully by spreading across the pressure.

IST M80 optical corrective mask

  • good quality fair price snorkeling goggles for glass wearers
  • high-grade hypoallergenic silicone skirt
  • easy adjust swiveling buckles
  • shatterproof RX lenses

The IST prescription snorkel masks come with far sight options from +1 to +4, near sight from -1 to -7.5 (0.5 decrements). Thanks to the teardrop shape and close-to-eye positioning, the lenses provide a wide panoramic view. The mask is available in various colors from full black to clear one to match your outfit!

Promate prescription snorkel mask

This Promate set offers good value for money because it comes with a submersible dry snorkel. The low-profile snorkeling mask with easy-adjust buckles made with soft silicone skirt for the best comfort. The tempered glass corrective lenses are customizable with different strengths for each eye from 1- to -10 (near sight) and from +1 to +4 (far sight).

Promate prescription mask

  • high-quality snorkel set with prescription mask and dry top snorkel
  • soft silicone skirt for best fit
  • near and far sight tempered glass lenses available
  • fits a wide variety of faces

Durable materials and user-friendly design guarantees that this Promate set is a good choice for everybody.

Easy-to-adjust swivel buckles on the mask ensure a customizable fit, while the nose pocket is designed for easy equalization. The snorkel is fully-submersible thanks to the dry top ending and can be quickly disconnected if needed

Cressi Snorkeling Diving mask with prescription lenses

This Cressi Mask is one of the best prescription dive masks that features a classical, 2-window design and sturdy construction and supports interchangeable lenses. It can be very helpful for divers to read the gauge or the computer.

Cressi Prescription dive/ snorkel mask

  • corrective mask with classic 2-window design
  • double edge skirt for best seal
  • supports interchangeable lenses
  • fits a wide variety of faces

It offers a great fit for a wide variety of faces. Soft silicone double edge shirt guarantees good seal and maximum comfort. The easy-to-reach one-hand nose pocket provides equalization even when wearing thick gloves, while the swiveling buckles ensure precise and quick adjustments.

Prescription full face snorkel mask

The popularity of full face snorkeling masks created a demand for prescription full face snorkel masks. For a while, the company Promate offered a full face mask that was available with a replaceable viewing window design. Like this, you could choose the prescription you need and you won’t have to carry corrective lenses separately, but this model is currently unavailable at most places. At the moment, the only option is getting a normal full-face snorkeling mask and adding a prescription lens insert to it.

Prescription Lens Insert

  • optical quality spectacle insert
  • compatible with single lens dive masks and full-face snorkeling masks
  • with suction cup to securely attach to inner surface of mask faceplate

If you think that you case is too difficult, we recommend contacting the local manufacturer of the mask you intend to buy who can certainly help you to have the prescription lenses that you need!

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Anett Szaszi

Anett is a certified scuba diver, freediver and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years experience. She fell in love with the ocean when she put her head underwater in the Red Sea in 2008. Since then , she is traveling all over the world to discover our waters. Wherever she goes, she takes her mask, fins and underwater camera with her. Visiting mega-cities is not her style but getting lost in tiny coastal villages, capturing the beauty of the sea while snorkeling. She is interested in sustainable traveling and marine conservation. She is hoping to inspire people to protect our oceans by sharing her underwater stories. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too!