When I first started writing this article – the thing that stood out in my mind was that famous scene in the movie Notting Hill. You know the one I mean – where Hugh Grant can’t find his glasses – so he goes to the cinema with his prescription snorkel mask instead.
Actually, that was the first time I ever realised you could even get prescription items – that weren’t just standard glasses. It never occurred to me before this, that you could order items like scuba diving masks, ski goggles and swimming goggles to your personal prescription too. In fact – I couldn’t be more grateful to Hugh Grant and that infamous scene because 5 years later when I explored the Great Barrier Reef – I was so glad to have clear vision and be able to enjoy the incredible views properly!
The different options available
When I first started looking around for options – I did think my only choice was going to be the scuba mask (personalised to my own prescription) – but actually it turns out I could have worn a normal set of goggles or a normal mask with contact lenses underneath. An option many people aren’t actually aware exists.
This idea took me by surprise actually – as I totally didn’t think it would be safe, or even work. And whilst I did eventually choose the prescription option – it was good to know that there was a cheaper alternative I could have gone with.
There were some reasons why I opted for a prescription mask though – So keep reading, as you might want to weight up the pros and cons. For your own holiday or diving career.
- I was wary of my mask flooding underwater: this is common place when scuba diving, and it would’ve made the entire process of emptying the mask more difficult – had I been wearing contact lenses at the time.
- You can loose contact lenses at anytime. Even underwater. I didn’t like the idea of loosing it underwater and only having vision in one eye.
- I liked to convenience of a prescription mask. It meant I didn’t have to share the mask, and it meant I didn’t have to remember my contacts in the morning. We were staying in a hostel and then on a boat (at the time) so contact lenses were the last thing on my mind.
- Underwater use of contact lenses works best with soft-lense wearers. Mine were hard contact lenses – so I would’ve had to renew my subscription.
So as you can see – the case for me was pretty strongly leaning towards a prescription mask. With good reason too. Although – saying that, I sailed with people who were pretty happy with their decision to stick with contacts and who didn’t encounter any issues.
Another thing that swung it for me though – was my commitment to diving. I was pretty set on diving full-time for an entire summer (and then afterwards too during holidays) so I knew I was going to get a lot of use from the prescription scuba mask I bought. And yes, they are not cheap (you’re looking at around £120+ for a decent pair) but I knew it would be worth it and I’d be making more of an investment than a once off, spontaneous purchase.
And hey, if I ever loose my glasses, I know I can always wear these instead – Notting Hill style!
The one piece of advice that I’d give to everyone though – whether you’re thinking of buying prescription of sticking with lenses, is make sure you’re comfortable with your choice. Try out swimming in your local pool wearing contacts – and if you feel uneasy then take the hint and buy a prescription mask instead. The last thing you want when you’re underwater is the feeling of unease.
After all, you’re supposed to be enjoying the beauty of everything around you – things you’ll never forget and things so breathtaking you’ll remember them forever. The last things you want to be worrying about are your contact lenses falling out.
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About the Author: ￼ Hey! I am Ryan Gibson, resident blogger at AsiaRooms. When Ryan is not working he spends his time travelling the globe, drawing on his travel experience and passion for travel to spread the good word. Ryan is also a social monkey and can be found lounging around on Twitter & Google+ and loves to interact with other travel bloggers