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Scuba diving masks : how to choose them

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A well-fitting mask is arguably your most important piece of diving gear, so take time to choose one that is right for you. There are many styles and designs to choose from, but above all you need one that fits correctly, and suits your personal diving requirements.

Seeing underwater
Human eyes cannot focus in water,which is why you have to wear a mask when diving. The way masks work is to trap a pocket of air in front of the eyes, allowing them to focus normally. A standard mask consists of a single or double panel of tempered glass inside a frame, with a silicone skirt forming an airtight seal against the face. A strap and buckles hold it all in place. If you take care of your mask and keep it in a sturdy case to avoid damage, it should last for many years. The lenses of new masks have a protective coating from the manufacturers that should be removed before use. This can be wiped off using a nonabrasive cloth and non-gel toothpaste (or a fine abrasive cleaner) to clean the coating off without scratching the glass. If in doubt, consult the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you rinse your mask in fresh water after use and store it away from direct sunlight in a dry place.

Testing for fit
There are lots of shapes and sizes of mask, so take time to find one you like that fits. A simple test is to hold it up to your face and inhale gently through your nose. If you then lean forward, it should remain in place.

1. Hold the mask in front of your face with the strap hanging loose.
2. Place it on your face. Inhale through your nose—the mask should
stay on without support.

Mask Types

This is a slightly old-fashioned design, but it is still popular with photographers because it gives a clear view of the diver’s face. It offers a good field of view, but its high internal volume of air makes clearing the mask a little harder.

extended vision maskExtended vision
Many new designs of mask are constructed to give the diver an extended field of view, especially downward. This model is a multi-lens design, which also allows corrective lenses of different strengths to be fitted.

matte scuba diving masksMatte finish
Some divers prefer to use a mask with a black silicone skirt to avoid confusing reflections on the inner surface of the glass. This is especially useful to marine photographers. However, this feature does reduce peripheral vision.

sideview scuba diving masksSide view
Some designs offer improved peripheral vision through glass panels on either side of the main lens, but are still low-volume, so are easy to clear. When choosing, make sure that additional lenses do not distort perspective.
Full face
Mostly used in commercial diving, full-face masks are advantageous in very cold or polluted water. Some recreational models have intercom radio units so divers can communicate.

Corrective lenses
In addition some masks can be fitted with prescription lenses, so if you
wear glasses you will still be able to see underwater. Contact
lens wearers can use normal masks—they provide an adequate
degree of protection from water, unless accidentally removed.

Click  for Great Selection of Scuba Masks

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