Sunday, October 14, 2012

Wearing Contact Lenses When Scuba Diving

Avid divers know what an amazing feeling it is to submerge into a world so different from our own. The underwater paradise is the only real frontier left to explore on the planet and even in frequently visited locations, like the Red Sea or Bunaken, you’ll have the opportunity to experience something unique, see fantastically colored fish and impossibly shaped coral reefs.

However, when you are scuba diving, you rely heavily on your sense of sight to take in all the beauty. This means that if live with a vision defect, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism, you will need prescription goggles or, if your wallet doesn’t stretch that far, a pair of contact lenses. So, there is no reason not to get the best experience every time you’re down in the water.

Using Contact Lenses when Diving

It is possible to wear glasses when scuba diving but it’s not the optimal choice when you’re also wearing a diving mask. What we would recommend is to wear contacts while diving. There are a couple of things to consider when you wear lenses underwater.
■If you experience mild discomfort, perhaps feel as if the lenses tighten a bit while you’re down, simply use lubricating eye drops before and after each session. This should relieve some of the irritation.
■Another thing to think about when diving with contact lenses is that you should blink as much as possible. In doing so you’ll prevent bubbles from forming underneath your lenses – these bubbles are in no way harmful to your eyes but they can cause minor discomfort and blur your vision.
■Also, when you clear your mask of water, remember to close your eyes so that you don’t lose your contact lenses!

Which Lenses to Wear

As most contact lens wearers know, there are two types of lenses; hard contacts and soft contacts. When diving, it is recommended to wear soft contacts, due to the fact that soft contacts contain a percentage of salt water which helps prevent them from floating off your eyes if they are open when you flood your mask. Hard contacts (gas-permeable) are more likely to simply disappear off your eye into the water, and it’s next to impossible to find a lost lens under water due to their inherent translucency. This is why you should always wear disposable lenses when doing water activities, since an eventual loss is not that great.

More to Think About

You shouldn’t worry about wearing contact lenses when scuba diving – it is perfectly safe. But, eye care experts suggest the following tips to keep in mind when using lenses
■When using contacts it’s important to ascend slower than normal.
■Wear soft contact lenses.
■Rinse lenses between dives to get the salt water out.
■Bring an extra pair if a problem should occur.
■Let your diving buddy know you’re wearing contacts so that he or she can retrieve your mask if you should lose it.

Other than this there is really nothing special to think about when hitting the water –simply dive right in!

Thanks to Scuba Diving

Kathy Dowsett

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