September 5, 2005 Snorkelling and diving is fun, but with the narrow view afforded by most dive masks, situational awareness and hence safety is greatly restricted. For over a decade, it has been Jon Kranhouse's mission to revolutionize underwater vision and to perfect his designs, Kranhouse hired the same engineers NASA sought to fix the once-fuzzy Hubble Space Telescope. It worked, and Hydrooptix first mask lets divers have a view almost five times wider than the view available through conventional flat masks and the vision is completely distortion free, significantly improving the vision, enjoyment, safety and situational awareness of the wearer.
In essence, a flat mask blocks over 75% of your view due to the combined refractive indexes of air, the mask's transparent material (usually glass) and water. The lenses of the Hydrooptix mask restore natural panoramic vision and enable the wearer to see almost five times more.
Due to the optics of the first mask, only naturally nearsighted divers (broad Rx range) can use the MEGA 4.5 mask with their naked eyes. But divers with perfect vision usually wear inexpensive disposable contact lenses in conjunction with the mask. By wearing contact lenses these divers become temporarily nearsighted and say that the incredibly wide and crisp view is worth the extra effort. Older divers love the Magic Bifocal phenomenon.
Now we haven't worn the mask - we're going solely from the vast number of testimonials on the site and from discussions with Jon Kranhouse. If you're an underwater regular, it's worth checking out the testimonials because they are overwhelming positive - there's several pages including testimonials from underwater VIPs, normal divers, optometrists, retailers and instructors.
"Already our first mask has been responsible for saving lives," says Kranhouse. "The increased situational awareness divers had while wearing our mask let them see snorkelers who were drowning."
The company hasn't rested on its laurels with the success of the first mask and has two new designs planned for release prior to the end of the year.