We fit prescription lenses to your mask
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Sea what you've been missing!
Divers all over the world dive in pursuit of perfect conditions: the creatures,
colours and contrasts are what makes diving so enjoyable. Unbeknownst to
them, nearly 50% of divers do not experience the full wonder of the
underwater world. This is because, they cannot see clearly without
corrective lenses.

Contact lenses have made it possible for a lot more people to enjoy diving.
A younger person who normally wears contact lenses can dive with their
lenses, yet there are a large number of older divers who require corrective
lenses for either near or distance viewing. These divers need to be able to
read their gauges and enjoy the underwater environment. With the growing
popularity of underwater photography divers need to be able to check their
camera settings and LCD screens on the back of the digital cameras, whilst
taking in the whole experience of the dive.

There is a solution that is commercially available as certain mask
manufactures offer prescription lenses. But as effective as these
lenses are they do not meet the needs of all visual conditions.

One of my most fond experiences whilst diving is being tapped on the shoulder by a buddy pointing upwards to see a Manta Ray gliding out of the abyss or a Whale Shark swimming overhead. Some 40 years ago I was on a dive trip when a dive buddy complained about not being able to see distance underwater - out of the water he would wear glasses for driving but didn’t need them for reading and close work. When he went diving he missed out on half the experience - he would often miss the sharks and barracuda that swam right past us!

At the time there was no commercial solution available for him and I thought I’d combine my profession (Optometry) and passion (diving) and offer him a window to the underwater world that he did not have. I fitted distance vision lenses in the upper half of his mask to create a “reverse bi-focal” enabling him to see distance underwater while not affecting his close-vision. See fig 1

The adhesive I used was not very attractive but the epoxy mixture held and the solution was more than functional. Over time and through trial and error I revised the process before settling on a combination of lenses and adhesive that I have found work best.

No two people’s faces are the same which makes the process totally custom.  The testing of the eyes aside, the whole process is rather technical as I need to ensure that the lenses are fixed to the mask at the correct height and width apart.  See fig 2

Since that first mask back in 1968, I have prescribed my solution to more than 500 other divers and their feedback has been startling - being able to see clearly underwater was like they were re-living the euphoria of their first dive. I even received a call from a diver whose spectacles were knocked off his face by a wave while on a dive trip in Kwazulu-Natal. This was quite a predicament as I could not get new glasses to him before the long weekend was over and he needed to drive back to Joburg, His solution to this problem was simply drive back, wearing his prescription dive mask. This created great entertainment for all the other road users… his wife was not as impressed!

My profession involves solving problems and I have expanded into a market where many are not able to have their problems solved. Yet a simple idea and some innovative thinking I have provided so many fellow divers with the ability to pursue their passions without losing out on the magnificence of the underwater realm. For more information on custom-made prescription dive masks, please contact David Crouse on 011-885-1747 or crouser@netactive.co.za or through Divestyle Magazine

To see or not to see page 67                         
DIVESTYLE magazine January/Febuary 2009
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