Updated: April 2023
This stick-on magnifiers review comes from lots of experience now with these products. We both use them in our own masks, and we have also installed them on many masks for our gear reviews. As we both reached the age of needing reading glasses we also started having trouble seeing our camera settings and screens while snorkeling. Stick-on magnifiers are a simple, affordable solution to this problem. These little lenses stick on inside your mask, without glue, and come in different magnifications, much like cheater glasses at your drug store.
This is only a solution for people who are having close vision problems, who do not need a prescription mask for their regular distance vision. For example, Galen wears contact lenses when snorkeling, so only needs these for a little help with seeing his camera settings.
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There are a couple of brands of these mask magnifiers available that are designed specifically for dive or snorkel masks.
Trident Stickon-Optics, which are stick-on magnifiers that do not use any glues, and Aqua-Optics, that do use a glue (although they say they are removable).
Since we test new masks sometimes, we prefer not to glue something to the mask that would be more difficult to remove.
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Stick-on Magnifiers Review for Snorkeling
How Do They Work?
Once we figured out a good magnification, they worked great. We can see our camera settings and screen clearly with them. Sometimes if there are some water drops on them inside, it distorts the view, but you can normally move your head around and find a clear spot.
We Only Use One Eye
Something we have learned using these is that you really don’t use both eyes when focusing on something close like a camera. So we now only install one on one lens. Having undisturbed vision in one eye is preferable. That means we can share one package of these between us.
Choosing Your Magnification
Trident Stickon Optics come in different powers of magnification, +1.5, +2.0, +2.5, and +3.0. Galen uses a single +2.5 lens and Nicole uses a single +2.0 lens in our snorkel masks. If you need more than +3.0, you will probably need to get a prescription bifocal lens installed in your mask.
Stick-on or Glue-on?
Trident Stickon Optics is a stick-on type, without glue. We have not used a glue type. We are able to remove them and put them in another mask with no problem. They stick on great, and do not wash off, if you carefully follow the instructions.
We have put these lenses in many masks we were testing, and snorkeled intensively for weeks without any of them coming off. They were soaked in fresh water many times daily, and even sprayed inside liberally with a defog soap solution. You can read lots of reviews that back this up. We have seen a video where someone is blasting the inside of the mask with a fire hose and the lenses did not come out.
But you will also see reviews from people that say they don’t stick and wash off easily. It’s likely they did not get their masks clean, did not follow the instructions, or they have some special coating on their mask that prevents good adhesion. Some masks have a layer of silicone inside that prevents you from really getting the mask clean, and the only way to get rid of it is a process called “burning” which you can see in this video.
So how do you put them on? You clean your mask very thoroughly. Then you put some warm water inside. You then position the lenses where you want them (top edge of the lens just below your lower eyelashes). Then you push them down and carefully massage out the air bubbles. Pour off the water in the mask, dry them out inside with a cloth, and then let them air dry for 24 hours. You really need to give it 24 hours. Then you could test them by soaking them to see if you have done a good job. It is pretty obvious when you don’t have them on correctly because you will see air bubbles, or the edges lifting.
The Aqua-Optics product uses a glue to attach their lenses. They also say they can be removed and reused and that the glue will not damage your mask. It seems getting the correct amount of glue on is a bit of a trick. Too little, and they pop off. Too much and it distorts your view.
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Stick-on Magnifiers Review Conclusion – Should You Try Some?
Yes, we recommend these stick-on magnifiers for putting in your snorkel mask. It is a reasonably priced way to have readers in your mask if you need to see camera settings, or a fish guide, or your watch.
You can also have prescription readers made for your snorkeling mask, which would be a permanent higher quality solution. See our prescription mask page for companies that do that.