One of the biggest downfalls to being completely submerged in water is the fact that your eyes were not designed to see in this condition. As any avid swimmer, diver, or snorkeler knows, this is half the fun in being able to appreciate water activities. The ability to see clearly underwater is especially important for divers who venture into natural bodies of water.
To appreciate all the natural beauties that remain hidden underneath the aquatic veils that separate people from them, many people come to lakes, oceans, and rivers prepared. For those planning on scuba diving or even snorkeling, a mask is a must-have accessory for getting the most out of the experience.
From an objective perspective, the role of a diver’s mask is a pretty self-explanatory one. While it is possible to keep your eyes open underwater for short periods of time, it is neither comfortable nor healthy for your eyes. To overcome this, scuba divers wear special protective gear over their faces.
Unlike goggles, a diver’s mask consists of a single unit as opposed to two dangling lenses. The purpose behind this is to provide full facial protection to the wearer while allowing them to see more clearly. Goggles tend to be much more simplistic by design, making them more susceptible to letting water into the sealing around the eyes.
Even with the most airtight seal around the face, water can still enter sometimes. Some masks also come with built-in purge valves that allow the user to expel the water out without having to remove the mask. This will often be built into the nosepiece; in this case, the wearer would simply have to come up for air and snort the water out of the mask.
Depending on your level of diving experience, you might find that a purge system is unnecessary for your mask. This might be especially true for those who plan on scuba diving. Since it is expected that you will remain submerged underwater for a substantial period of time, it might be best just to buy a completely airtight, waterproof mask specifically meant for scuba diving.
If you plan on scuba diving, you will want to take special care in selecting the type of mask you use for your underwater adventures. It is important that you can adjust your mask conveniently and comfortably as needed. To ensure that necessary adjustments are minimal, scuba diving masks are designed to be extraordinarily defensive against water and foreign objects.
While the primary culprit to be concerned with is water, there are numerous needs for eye protection in natural bodies of water. Scuba diving masks are typically made using tempered glass for the lenses, meaning that they are less likely to crack when exposed to pressure or potentially damaging force. Higher strength glass is essential for protecting against rocks, coral, or aquatic life that may get in your way.
In addition to providing protection for your eyes, the best masks for scuba diving will also provide protection to a great portion of the rest of your face as well. Most scuba diving masks will resemble goggles with lenses that take up most of the face. Often, masks also come with a nose guard to prevent the person wearing the mask from accidently inhaling water.
To prevent unwanted water from blocking your view of the subaqueous environment, the best scuba diving masks will have an adjustable strap and tightly adjusting seals (also called skirts) around the edges. The lenses in scuba diving masks are often made from tempered glass, meaning that they are significantly more durable than the glass used in most standard sets of goggles.
To ensure consistent protection underwater, the best scuba diving masks will have an adjustable strap that wraps tightly around the wearer’s head. Additionally, the skirts along the edges of the mask should protect the inner and outer edges of the mask, making a tighter seal. For this experience to be bearable, though, comfortability is also an important factor to consider.
Ideally, the strap should be made from a cushioned material that adapts to the user’s head tightly. The best straps will also be adjustable and have the ability to lock into place. Another standard mask feature that can make all the difference in how comfortable you are underwater is an enclosed nose. In addition to providing extra seals around your nose, you can also change the pressure in your mask by exhaling.
To get a better idea of what you should look for in protective face gear for scuba diving, take a look at these five masks.
This mask provides the user with a full, clear view of their underwater surroundings without compromising their comfort. The medical-grade silicon skirts around the edges of the mask make for a lightweight experience with minimal visual obstruction.
The Atomic Venom uses a single-lens design, meaning that there is no gap between the eyepieces. Instead, the facepiece consists of a single layer of super clear tempered glass. While this is a personal preference, I like these designs due to the extended field of vision. Single-lens designs tend to make for less pressure around the corners of the eyes as well, making them a bit more comfortable.
The Tusa Freedom HD is another scuba diving mask that utilizes the single lens approach. The strap is also far more adjustable than that of standard diving masks. Built-in are a couple of hinged buckles that allow the strap to adjust to the wearer’s head at virtually any angle. For less than $100, this mask offers high levels of comfort and underwater visibility.
Perhaps the most notable feature of this mask is the comfort that users experience. The double-injection silicon skirts make for a snug, painless fit. This seal essentially adds a layer of padding around the edges of your face where the mask rests.
The adjustable strap is also made from silicone, proving padded protection all around. If comfort is a top priority in selecting a mask, the ScubaPro Spectra just might be the one you’re looking for.
The Panoramic diving mask by Cressi takes an innovative approach in expanding peripheral vision of the user. This is done by expanding the tempered glass lenses across the edges of the wearer’s face where peripheral sight is. Constructed from polycarbonate, This is one of the more durable diving masks on the market
The most notable feature of the GoMax GoPro diving mask is its compatibility with GoPro cameras. This lets divers record footage of their adventures while keeping their face well-protected. In addition to its support for a digital video camera, the mask itself fits snugly around the user’s face using an elastic silicone skirt.
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