Presbyopia in Divers – Difficulty in reading gauges

Presbyopia is the normal loss of near focusing ability that occurs with age. Most people begin to notice the effects of presbyopia sometime after age 40, when they start having trouble seeing small print clearly — including text messages on their phone.

Yes, even divers get middle aged, and one of the biggest nuisances from this stage of life on is the difficulty most of us suffer trying to read and see things that are close up. This includes reading our dive computer and gauges. The phenomenon of reduced ability to focus the eyes is called presbyopia, and we argue that it is a sign of maturity.

One extra factor underwater is that the reduced levels of light induce the pupils to dilate, further exacerbating the difficulties. The first time that I remember noticing early presbyopia was once when I was diving in deep dark conditions and the realization that I had great problems seeing my computer and gauge.

Since then, I have upgraded my mask and also gave up my trusty Suunto Stinger and upgraded to a big face dive computer.

Many recreational divers only need to see their depth and tank contents gauges and this only requires a little corrective lens at the bottom edge of their divemask glass on the side of their gauge. Sometimes a little lens made from aliphatic polyurethane, a plastic possessing a negative electrostatic charge, will be more than adequate. Because of the charge it will adhere to the inside of the mask glass of its own accord. These do have to be looked after because they can be lost relatively easily.The segment is like a capital D on its back. I normally would place it so that the top of it is level with the lower eyelid when looking straight ahead.

Let us introduce you to Trident Optical Optics.

Trident Optical Optics

Having problem looking at small objects or words underwater?

This product is a small semi-circle stick on to the glass of the mask. It works like a magnifying glass that magnifies small words or objects that are hard to read. It is especially useful for divers who are long sighted. For example, when one is reading your dive computer and the symbols are so tiny and not able to see it clearly.

Aqua Optics stick-in magnifier lenses allow divers and snorkelers a quick & economical solution to adding magnification in dive masks. Reading your fish ID card, watch or camera settings is now possible without the expense of a full prescription mask. These optical-quality glass stick-on lenses are removable and reusable if you change masks, yet won’t accidentally wash out if your mask is flooded with water. Each package includes two semi-circular lenses, installation glue, and complete instructions. Installation takes minutes, and the glue sets completely in 6 hours. Five powers available to fit a wide range of needs.

Pros Cons
Able to stick it at a corner of the mask and use it when you need it. Glue is water soluble, so after clearing your mask a few times the glue will dissolve.
Easy application and removal.