A comprehensive compendium was assembled to aid the optometrist in understanding vision underwater and the unique visual needs of the SCUBA diver. Most every aspect of vision is altered underwater and a description of perceptual, optical, and physiolotical alterations is provided in the text. Partial adaptation to visual distortions gradually occurs as a function of time underwater, but adaptation can be accelerated with selected eye-hand activities. Methods of restoring the air-cornea interface are evaluated, and although the dive mask results in compromised visual function, it is still the most practical and cost effective means of restoring the refractive power of the eye. Based on personal experience and previous research, the authors suggest priorities for the novice diver selecting a dive mask. The ametropic diver is faced with choosing from four popularly available methods in selecting an underwater correction. Advantages and limitations of each method are cited. Lens bonded to the dive mask is the most versatile system but ultimate choice is dependent upon the diver's specific, individual needs. In an appendix the authors explore a theoretical lens system that compensates for magnification created by the air-water interface of the facemask.
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