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Is Scuba Diving Dangerous for Eyes?

Scuba diving is an exhilarating activity that can introduce divers to a fascinating underwater world. However, divers must be aware of potential risks associated with the sport, including those that can affect their eyes.

Eye-Related Risks in Scuba Diving

Corneal abrasions: Contact lenses can rub against the cornea, causing scratches or abrasions. These can be painful and may impair vision.
Mask squeeze: If the mask is too tight, it can put pressure on the eyes, resulting in blurred vision and pain.
Barotrauma: Scuba divers can experience changes in pressure as they ascend and descend. If the mask is not vented properly, the pressure difference can damage the eyes or rupture blood vessels.
Saltwater irritants: The salt and minerals in seawater can irritate the eyes, causing dryness, redness, and inflammation.
Bacteria and microorganisms: Diving in contaminated water can expose the eyes to bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can cause infections.

Minimizing Eye Risks

Divers can minimize the risks to their eyes by taking the following precautions:

Wear contact lenses carefully: Use soft contact lenses that are specifically designed for diving. Avoid wearing hard or rigid lenses.
Use a properly fitted mask: The mask should not be too tight or too loose. It should fit snugly around the face without creating excessive pressure.
Equalize the mask: Before descending, divers should clear the mask by exhaling through their nose while holding the mask in place. This ensures that the pressure inside the mask matches the external pressure.
Rinse eyes with fresh water: After diving, use clean water to rinse the eyes and remove any salt or irritants.
Avoid diving in contaminated water: Avoid diving in areas with known water quality issues or sewage discharge.

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Treating Eye Injuries

If a diver experiences any eye discomfort or injury while diving, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Corneal abrasions can be treated with eye drops or ointments. Mask squeeze and barotrauma may require more extensive medical care, such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


While scuba diving can pose some risks to the eyes, these risks can be minimized by taking proper precautions and following safety guidelines. By understanding the potential dangers and taking steps to protect their eyes, divers can enjoy the wonders of the underwater world safely.

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