I Can See Clearly Now – A Guide to Prescription Masks

I Can See Clearly Now – A Guide to Prescription Masks

While we can all appreciate the silence that comes with diving, none of us want to lose another of our main senses – sight. The beauty of the underwater world can become a tad fuzzy as we get older, or perhaps you already have some visual impairment. Sadly you can’t wear glasses under a diving mask because of increased pressure at depth, while contact lenses can dislodge or be irritated by salt water, causing an infection. If you want to change your mask to improve your viewing pleasure beneath the waves, please read our simple guide below and watch this video to find out more:


The easiest way to work out what strength of lens or “diopter” you need is to look at your glasses prescription. Plus or minus numbers show whether you are near or farsighted in each eye. Generally the further away from zero the numbers are on your prescription, the poorer your eyesight is, and more vision correction is needed. 

With a prescription mask you will normally be offered pre-made lenses available in optical factor increments of 0.5. Our easy-to-use prescription mask builder makes buying a new corrective mask as stress-free as possible! Simply choose the mask you want, and the compatible prescription lenses will be offered to you along with a range of accessories.

Some manufacturers have made full lenses for divers with optical prescriptions at either ends of the scale to -8 in minus corrections and +4.5 in positive corrections. If your prescription is outside the 0.5 increments - for example +2.75 - you would normally need to make the judgement call on whether to go down to +2.5 or up to +3. Now however we can offer a bespoke prescription lens service that will result in lenses being ground to your exact prescription by our specialist optical partner. You can also contact us to use this service if you already have a mask you love that you would like prescription lenses fitted into.

Standard bifocals are great for divers who may also wear reading glasses and if you need distance correction (astigmatism for example). They can help by correcting both distant and near vision, so you can see your surroundings and read your gauges and computer. These small corrective lenses are fitted at the bottom of your mask window. The range of bifocal prescriptions is therefore a lot less. Photographers are also keen on them as they can see their camera controls clearer.

At Mike’s all our prescription masks are with twin lenses. This is because it is much harder to create single lens or frameless prescription masks. If you prefer the single lens style you may choose to wear contact lenses.

IMPORTANT: Please be aware that prescription lenses are non-returnable once fitted to a mask, so please make sure you are selecting the correct prescription when ordering or speak to our Customer Support team who will be happy to help you.

Clear vision underwater is crucial to an enjoyable dive. Short or long-sightedness is a fact of life, so why should you struggle to see the beauty of the underwater world when you wear glasses or contact lenses on terra firma? Choosing the right prescription mask isn’t complicated but deciding on fit, colour and design can be, even for divers with 20-20 vision!