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My current (ageing) situation is that I need glasses with between +2 and +3 for reading (depending on where I hold the bhook). My distance vision is clear.

For diving, I use a Cressi Occhio mask, very low volume and two eyes. I have a +2 gauge lens in the bottom left corner of my mask. For using my camera, with currently un-corrected vision I can see clearly through a Nauticam 45 degree viewfinder and camera EVF with no correction.

My problem - while I can see clearly through the camera, my vision is no longer good enough to spot tiny critters before pointing my camera at them. 

On land, with reading glasses on, looking at anything distant is obviously slightly fuzzed. 

For underwater, the solution I am considering is +2 or +3 full lenses for both eyes of my mask. Not half lenses or bifocals. My intent is that will give me the best vision for spotting tiny and camouflaged critters. The side effect of a slightly fuzzed distant vision won't really be a problem underwater.

The anticipated problem is: will I be able to use my camera viewfinder through such lenses? Can the built in adjustment of the Nauticam viewfinder negate the +2 or +3 I would have in my mask.

Does anyone have experience of such, or am I thinking in completely the wrong direction?

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Hey John

Yeah, I know that aging thing.

I wear +1 or +1.5 glasses now for reading. I was finding problems reading the various labels on my housing and the top LCD. A visit to an optician told me that for that sort of distance I needed +2 which I then had fixed to the bottom half of a new mask. Works well although took some getting used to.

Like I say, half lenses in effect. I do wonder if you go with a full lens at +2 and you have good long distance vision (as I do), you may well start to feel nauseated over the length of a dive by the blurry long-distance vision. I think I'd be wary.

 

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Well - had the same problem. Now I have a mask with glasses (Varilux / for near and far away). With the 45° viewfinder it was really good. But now I have a external monitor on my housing. => no problems anymore! You see everything (small critters or tiger sharks) without problem. You can do super easy video or you can push your cam in a hole and still see your subject easily on the screen. - no stress anymore.

Good luck !

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I faced this a few years ago. I thought my distance was ok as well until I took the exam, I got Progressive len glasses (slight + for distance the bottom part is +2 and the world was like in 8k, I decided to just try multi focal contacts. Finding the right balance took a few tries. But it's been great so far. The future may have a prescription mask in store for me if my vision gets worse and can not find contacts to work... but for now it's great. 

I suggest the daily ones to anyone diving with contacts. Ive Never lost one diving, but good to have a spare in your bag. Also after 2 dives I trash them and use another set just to be safe (Bacteria etc)

I also now use a external monitor so that helps greatly too. 

Im with Tim on the full mask +2, I think could cause some ill effects for you..  😵‍💫

Prescription Dive Masks is really well rated on many forums and by Divers as BVA suggests. 

Let us know what you end up doing and how you make out. 

 

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5 hours ago, ChrisRoss said:

An alternative I have seen used around Sydney dive sites is a regular pair of specs without side arms mounted on a go pro type mask clamp on your mask that you can flip up and down as required. 


Yes, I can confirm underwater readers in the water work surprisingly well!

It’s what I now use all the time for shooting macro, and just couldn’t imagine working without them...

If you want to give it a try without the GoPro mask mount first, here’s what you can do:

- Get some cheap readers and simply unscrew the arms/temples.
The holes where the screw used to sit can be used to fit some sort of attachment (I use small key holder rings).

- Then proceed to fit an adjustable landyard to the attachements

When you want to use the readers, simply place them onto the glass of the mask (helps to have a nose pocket) and tighten the landyard behind your head nice and snug.

This is what the contraption looks like:

 

 
IMG_20231211_113733.jpg


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The landyard I'm using is an old one, as this was my first "prototype", so I'll replace it soon, but otherwise it's a keeper...

I just keep them in a small pocket attached to my BC, and just put them on at the start of the dive when I start actively spotting/shooting.

 

The great thing about the landyard system is that reader position can be freely adjusted.

When I’m swimming around and spotting, I have them at the bottom of the mask, so I can look around (wide) but also focus on something closeby by looking down.

But when I start shooting, the glasses move up to the middle of the mask – this is fantastic because I generally shoot quite low, and having them in the middle of my field of vision means I don’t have to bend my neck when using them…

This is actually what I really didn’t like about the reader-integrated mask I tried.
Readers where at the bottom of the mask, and it was very difficult to use them efficiently/comfortably when shooting (not to mention magnification was too weak) – I sold the mask after 2 dives.

I’d initially tried to place readers inside my single-glass mask, works but it’s cumbersome and not super comfy, you can’t move them around, and there are always water dropplets remaining on the glasses after mask-clearing.

Testing them on the outside, in the water but directly on the mask glass turned out to work fine, so I went with this method and never went back.

Magnification-wise, I started out with +1.5 but quickly move up to the highest magnification available (usually +3.0 or +4.0), as this much more useful.


It’s a great little device, cheap and easy to make, and I really couldn’t see (pun intended?) myself spotting or shooting macro without them now.

If underwater style isn’t an concern (it does look slightly ridiculous, but hey...), definitely do give it a try!

cheers
ben

Edited by bghazzal
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Regarding your initial question I cannot prove from real live, but e.g. the SKU # 32214 45° viewfinder is able to compensate -3 to +3 dioptries, so it should work with a mask with +2 or +3 glasses (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZXdgS9N8TIgeciMzXb9GHhORUeA-pL-b/view)...

Having a permanent reading glass of +2 or +3 dioptries in the mask may be a cheap solution, but it is probably not comfortable considering that visual perception is the most important perception while scubadiving and also while taking photos UW...

I personally prefer to have all my optical ametropias corrected by having glued-in and multifocal lenses in my mask, fabricated by a dedicated company. Vision is similarily perfect as with the glasses that I wear above the surface (nearsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia). One could even think about including extra + dioptries at the near end, to get some magnifying glass effect, but i did not dry this...

Since I have such a mask, I just can forget about all my optical problems. I can read again finnimeter and diving computer easily. My 45° viewfinder is no problem with this mask. This comes at the cost of about 700 Euros for such a mask, but I think it was a very worthy investment. I have other, more expensive, items in my gear list that I could omit more easily...

 

Wolfgang

 

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Depending on the camera being used many viewfinders have -4 to +3 built into the viewfinder on top of any additional changes that can be made with accessory viewfinders like 45 degree and 180. 

Like many my age and younger I have had cataract surgery in both eyes. I use disposable contact lenses and find that they work great underwater. They of course don't work for all vision problems but are worth consideration for these who can wear them. 

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For a long time i needed single vision lenses as i had not only myopia but also a axial curvature of the eyes (i hope this is the correct english term). 
I let my optician glue "my" glasses in the mask. Getting slowly older also my near vision also got worse and with the axial curvature i went back and got some special varifocal / multifocal lenses glued in a new mask. 
If you have a low volume / kind of freediving mask this can be a problem as the glued in glasses can get too short to the eye that your eyelashes have contact with evera eye closing (made me crazy...), but with a regular diving mask the "made to measure" glasses are the best, especially if your curvature is not correct. 

There are also variofocal/multifocal contact lenses available, but i would try to use a bigger mask and special multifocal lenses which also correct your distance vision (which might be off as well). It surely will help your vision, you might check with a good optician.

 

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I have astigmatism and am getting more long sighted as I get older 

I have disposable contact lenses - one lens for near vision and one for distance  (+4.5  and +1.5 or so) and your brain sorts it out  - it’s been great but I think I’m probably on the limit of this working now as the differential is getting high so am looking at next options, especially for macro, this thread is very useful thanks 

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18 hours ago, Michael said:

 

There are also variofocal/multifocal contact lenses available, but i would try to use a bigger mask and special multifocal lenses which also correct your distance vision (which might be off as well). It surely will help your vision, you might check with a good optician.

 

Last year I have tested multifocal plus astigmatic contact lenses on the surface. It did not work for me, I cold not see clear near and also not far. Maybe it was just a bad optician, but I abandoned the project...

 

Wolfgang

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John, we've had great success with Prescription Dive Masks, and I really recommend getting lenses ground to your prescription.  They offer a different grind for photographers, with the close-focus lens extending a little bit higher in the visual field.  Given that you don't need distance correction, maybe those would be worth checking out.  (I wouldn't be happy with fuzzy distance vision, but that's a lifestyle choice).  As to mask size, I've happily used Cressi Big Eye masks with prescription lenses for a long time. 

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John,

I'm an ophthalmologist.  I agree with most of the above advice.  I would definitely not recommend you wear your full add power over the entire lens of your mask.  Unless you have a severe aversion to bifocals, the best solution by far is to have your add professionally placed in your mask.   You might try the "stick-on" type first (you can find on Amazon and elsewhere) but they don't offer the best vision and they will fall out at the most inconvenient times.  For myself and my wife, I had my optical shop send our masks off to Prescription Dive Masks for a straight line bifocal.  As Rick said above, you will want the bifocal installed a bit higher than typical.  Prescription dive masks has instructions online for how to mark your mask for positioning of the bifocal, but I would recommend you consider stopping by your local optical shop and let them mark the mask for you.  I don't know the name, but there is also a company in Germany that does this and they even install the progressive (no line) bifocals into diver masks if you don't want the line.  The permanent bifocals were a game changer for wife's enjoyment of macro diving and work beautifully for me for my photography.  If you don't mind contacts, other options for you could be monovision or multifocal contacts but both of these options come with some compromise.

IMG_2939.jpeg

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Thanks Stewart, if you come across the company that will do progressive lens do share. 

I’ll do some googling, might have to try that. 

Im good now with my multifocus dailies now but i think my time is numbered on that. 

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I really like the solution with the readers that Ben presented - maybe not ideal for any situation but likely good enough for a lot. Certainly as a low-threshold entry into the aging photographer theme 🙂

I have two questions, Ben:

1) Did the add-on glasses ever get in the way with your regulator? I suppose this could happen when they slip down below the mask, but I simply cannot wrap my head around if that would cause a problem or not.

2) glass lenses lose a lot of their refractive power in water vs. air because water is much denser. I suppose this is similar for the plastic lenses In the readers, though some of those materials have a higher refractive index than glass. In any case, I assume that you are using stronger lenses than for reading above water, how much stronger would you suggest as a first try?

Thanks,

Klaus

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15 hours ago, Klaus said:

I really like the solution with the readers that Ben presented - maybe not ideal for any situation but likely good enough for a lot. Certainly as a low-threshold entry into the aging photographer theme 🙂

I have two questions, Ben:

1) Did the add-on glasses ever get in the way with your regulator? I suppose this could happen when they slip down below the mask, but I simply cannot wrap my head around if that would cause a problem or not.

2) glass lenses lose a lot of their refractive power in water vs. air because water is much denser. I suppose this is similar for the plastic lenses In the readers, though some of those materials have a higher refractive index than glass. In any case, I assume that you are using stronger lenses than for reading above water, how much stronger would you suggest as a first try?

Thanks,

Klaus

Hi Klaus,

Indeed, I think it's also a good way to try underwater readers and see how they work without committing to stick-ons or a dedicated reader-mask.
The other thing I really like is the ability to have the readers in the middle of the mask rather than below - this is clearly due to the fact that I'm currently shooting macro video without an external screen or 45° viewfinder, but I'm often quite low, checking the screen at the same level as the camera, so this is really handy.

To answer your questions

1. Nope, ne never had an issue with the glasses slipping off and falling onto the reg.
That said, even though I have a landyard, I never keep them around my neck, but in small pouch clipped onto my BCD. After entering, when I start swimming around and spotting, I take them out and place them in the low position as shown in the pic.
I just place them on the nosepocket of my mask and then tighten the landyard behind my head.
It's really nice and snug - the combination of nose pocket + tightened landyard means that they don't slip down around my neck.
In the higher, midmask position the nose pocket isn't doing as much support, but the edges still sit on the mask's rubber, and it doesn't slip.

Definitely wouldn't want them around my neck to avoid any regulator hose tangles, but even if it did happen for some reason, as strong pull would easily break the landyard away from the plastic frame, so it's not much of risk.

2. Yes, this is also why I thought it wouldn't work, as ordinary magnifying glasses don't really do much underwater, but the readers work. I think it's also linked to the fact that the reader's lenses are directly on the on the glass of the mask - magnification is not much different from what you get if they're placed inside the mask, a little weaker, but not much.
I would say it really depends on your needs - I have astigmatism so on land I use two pairs of specs, one for reading and the other one for long distance (driving), as the ophtalmologist said I wasn't quite at the stage where single progressive lenses were the best choice - meaning I don't really use readers, but magnification-wise would be comfortable reading reading with +1.50 or +2.00 on land.

However, despite not correcting the astigmatism (which isn't as marked underwater in my case) the readers' extra magnification does make a big difference underwater, I can spot animals that would be lost in the fuzzy bluriness, and see focus points clearly (especially focus peaking points).

I would say maybe get two pairs, one just a little stronger than what you would need on land, and the other the maximum you can find (within reason... for cheap plastic readers it's usually +3.0 to +4.0), that way you can see what works best.

The reader integrated mask I tried was +1.75, which was ok but a little weak - when I first started experimenting with external readers I go +2.50 lenses, which worked really well, but then tried stronger (+4.00, or so they say...) and decided I liked this the best for my purposes.

If your aim to read your instruments, a little stronger than your land readers will probably do the trick - but if you're interested in extra magnification (keeping in mind that you will need to get a little closer to the screen you're watching), go for stronger readers.

Hope this helps!
cheers

ben

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16 hours ago, bghazzal said:

That said, even though I have a landyard, I never keep them around my neck, but in small pouch clipped onto my BCD. After entering, when I start swimming around and spotting, I take them out and place them in the low position as shown in the pic.

Now we want a video of you wearing them and filming the spiny tiger shrimp 😁

I only have problems with presbyopia, which is getting worse and worse.
I can't stand the lenses attached to the glass of the mask because I do videos and they force me into absurd neck positions. I solved it with contact lenses for presbyopia. Out of the water they are perfect. In the water, the close-up vision is not perfect but good.
But I am curious to try Ben's solution. One of these dives I will hide behind a rock and wear them 😎

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I am farsighted with astigmatism and I use a mask with prescription inserts from See the Sea out of Houston Tx.  I had my masked marked at my local optometrist for the center of my pupils and sent it and my prescription via postal service to See the Sea.  Two weeks later it was returned with the inserts installed.  Very painless process and the correction is perfect for reading my computer and gauges.  Did a pool session to confirm what I was seeing on land used the mask in Cozumel and St Croix.  Very satisfied. 

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This year I finally gave in and had my mask fitted with perscription lenses (bifocals).  Should have done this a while ago, got by with readers on the mask for a while, but they were never great.  Having a true perscription made a world of difference.  Went through my local dive shop who has an optometrist they work with.  If I were to do it over I would have them make the reading part of the prescription a little bigger, not bad but would make it slightly easier to see the back of the camera.  

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I thought just struck me on re-reading this thread, does it make much difference to the placement of the lenses whether you use a 45-degree finder or a straight-through or screen?

Might sound an odd question but when I got my readers fitted in my mask, I found them slightly higher than, perhaps, I would have liked them. The company that did them, advised on the position and said where I had them was the usual place but that  it was, of course, largely down to personal preference. They offered to redo them but I felt that maybe I was being too nit-picky.

I wonder now reading these posts whether the angle of viewing makes quite a difference? I use a 45-degree finder all the time and I've adjusted the camera's diopter setting so I guess effectively only use the lenses just to read the housing labels or to try and finder macro critters on the reef.

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On 12/16/2023 at 12:51 AM, RichN said:

Thanks Stewart, if you come across the company that will do progressive lens do share. 

I’ll do some googling, might have to try that. 

Im good now with my multifocus dailies now but i think my time is numbered on that. 

 

Here are some adresses located in Europe, where such masks are fabricated. There must be also companies in US, but these I do not know:

 

When I remember correctly, I had my mask produced here (years ago): https://tauchmaske.de/international

Here two additional companies with very good reputation among divers (unfortunately the pages are in German only, but I am sure they will be able to correspond in English):

https://optik-pingel.de/

https://www.sehmeile.de/

 

Wolfgang

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