Should you Wear Prescription Scuba Mask, Swim Goggles, or Contacts?

If you wear glasses, then you already know how much of a pain participating in water sports and activities can be. Even if they’re your favorite thing in the world, there’s always that crucial decision at your towel. Wear your glasses and be unable to swim or take them off and be unable to see? The more intense your prescription, the more of a challenge this is. Some people have eyes just good enough to get around the waterside safely and interact with most people and larger items while those with more limited eyesight may be at serious risk of stumbling or running into pool railings and patio furniture if they venture out without any vision correction at all. Then there are the precision games like diving for toys, scavenger hunts, and not getting completely clobbered in a water balloon fight.

Whether you’re 6 or 60, water activities without glasses can be a real hassle. Fortunately, lens technology has progressed far enough that simply toughing it out isn’t your only option. There are now three primary solutions to prescription vision correction when playing in the water. The first option is contact lenses which fit right onto your eyeballs. Some people love contact lenses and wear them all the time while other people can’t stand them and prefer glasses instead. The second option is a prescription scuba mask. This is a lot like wearing a large pair of glasses in the pool and comes with the benefit of holding our nose for you. The final option is prescription swim goggles which are the most versatile way to correct your vision in and out of the water if you don’t wear contacts.

Swimming in Contacts

For those who find contacts comfortable and convenient, it’s often impossible to tell that they even need vision correction which is exactly how they like it. People who wear contacts regularly are usually more than happy to explain why contacts are better than glasses in every way and how they will never ever go back to the glasses-wearing lifestyle. If this sounds like you and your last pair of backup glasses is already more than two prescription updates behind, then you’re likely to be a happy contacts swimmer as well.

For those who don’t wear contacts regularly and tend to prefer glasses, there is a chance that modern soft contactsare more comfortable than the set you tried a few years ago and this minimalist method of swimming with clear vision could be more accessible than you think.



  • Contacts require no mask, goggles, or strap
  • Minimalist solution sees clearly underwater with complete peripheral vision
  • Don’t have to switch them out getting into and out of the water
  • Wear them under normal goggles and masks


  • Can become too loose or too tight in response to water or chlorine
  • Can become dislodged and pop out in the water, never to be seen again
  • Can get invite an eye infection if bacteria gets behind a contact

Prescription Scuba Mask

The next option to consider is a prescription scuba mask or dive mask. These are the larger of your two lens-based options but they’re also rated for a lot more water activities. If you’re planning a vacation that might involve either diving or snorkeling around sunken shipwrecks or beautiful coral reefs, the dive mask is definitely the right option to go with.

Prescription swim masks come in a number of shapes, sizes, and designs. The smooth design comes with a single wide lens that allows you to see clearly out the front ‘window’ of the mask and these are common snorkeling or dive masks. You can also get masks that separate the eye sections into two lenses, requiring a pair of prescription lenses to be inserted.

Among the lense application types, there are prescription lenses glued into a normal, known as “bonded lenses”, masks that have prescription lenses permanently installed, and even “drop-in” mask styles that allow you to switch out the lenses on a regular basis.


  • Wide Lens for greater peripheral vision
  • Versatile design
  • Covers the nose for easy air control
  • Ready for many water activities and best for diving
  • Top pick for glasses-wearing vacationers


  • Heavier than other options due to wide lenses
  • Takes more space to pack

Prescription Swim Goggles

Your final option is the small, practical, and practically camouflaged prescription swim goggles. Many children and adults swim with goggles and sit around the poolside with their goggles on or propped up on their heads ready for the next dive into the water. Prescription swim goggles are generally considered the best choice for children because they are lightweight and fit into a crowd of other children at pool parties and summer camp. Adults who swim athletically and need vision correction also tend to choose prescription swim goggles because they are hydro-dynamic (help swimmers go fast) and can be made with the same designs as professional racing and practice goggles.

Prescription swim goggles are ideal for anyone who wants a quick corrective solution that is light on your face and doesn’t block the nose. These can be a great way to explore water parks, for example, because you can keep them on as you walk from ride to ride without seeming too strange or needing to dig your glasses out of the day bag. They’re also a good way to tightly pack a camping backpack or vacation bag just in case you might wind up going swimming.


  • Lightweight
  • Low-Profile
  • Don’t block the nose
  • Easy to find in kids sizes


  • Limited peripheral vision
  • Sometimes easier to break due to thinner straps

Which vision correction solution is right for your water activities? The choice will dempend most of all on your own personal preferences. If you like contacts or are willing to try them again, this can be a smooth solution to a complex problem. If you plan to go on a lot of vacations where there will be opportunities to dive, a prescription dive mask is the most efficient solution. If you want something versatile and more keyed to flexible social waterside events, prescription swim goggles are the right way to go.

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