To see or not to see…
Freediving for me is so much more than descending a rope to see how deep you can go, or how many metres you can swim. Both of which don’t exactly need 20:20 vision, And of course static, which technically you could do blind.
No, for me freediving is also about enjoying the underwater world and everything there is to see. Not to mention, spearfishing where it is absolutely imperative to have good vision…
Now for someone with mild vision problems they may be able to enjoy it with no problems as everything is magnified three times bigger underwater, but for some with slightly worse vision problems don’t worry there are quite a few options available.
1. Contact Lenses
Yes, it’s perfectly ok to use soft disposable contact lenses while diving. Of course there is a chance of losing them if your mask comes off which is why I recommend the daily use lenses just in case. If using the longer life lenses just make sure to remove and clean them after diving to get rid of any sea dirt. Don’t dive with hard contact lenses or at least consult with your optician beforehand as I imagine you’re going to run into difficulties with the pressure changes underwater.
2. Prescription Mask
Prescription masks are usually sold with the lenses seperate. You buy the mask and order to lenses to put in in depending on your eyesight which makes them highly customizable with even bi focals available if you have trouble reading your watch.
3. Bifocal Stickers
Unfortunately mixing stickers and salt water doesn’t really work put that well. Bifocal stickers seem like an inexpensive option if all you need is a little help in reading your watch but trust me, you will be replacing them often as they never seem to stay stuck for many dives.
4. Corrective Surgery
The most expensive option but obviously the most effective. It’s far beyond the scope of this article to explain all the different types of laser eye surgery but it’s definetly worth booking an appointment in your local clinic to get a quote as you may be pleasantly surprised. It’s not as expensive as it used to be and the technology has come a long way since it was first introduced. This will affect your whole life, not just your diving.
5. Develop a Sonar Sense
As detailed in James Nestor’s book The Deep, you could always try learning an echo location system if none of the above options appeal to you. Only then you can say you are truly one with the ocean.
Personally I dive with soft disposable contact lens. I prefer them over getting a prescription mask as I go throught quite a few masks in general wear and tear and it would work out more expensive and obviously I can’t walk around in my dive mask. They are daily use and I’ve never had a problem. If I lose one it’s not a problem as they cost about a Euro a day and I don’t have the pain of washing them after diving. I just bin them. They certainly help when I’m looking for octopus.
What do you use while freediving to correct your vision and why?
Let me know in the comments below…