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Thread: Goggle/mask squeeze and options to deal with it (possibly NSFW)

  1. #1

    Goggle/mask squeeze and options to deal with it (possibly NSFW)

    Note: this was marked NSFW because of some fairly gross-looking pictures of injured eyes, and because of some pictures of traditional Japanese women divers (keep you American readers from getting into trouble at work from pictures of breasts)

    Hi all, I noticed in the thread in Tail Swimming on swimming with goggles http://mernetwork.com/index/showthre...kes-rivers-sea people were talking about how deep you can go wearing goggles, and masks, without equalizing.

    Thought I would see if I can post some helpful information. People call it eye squeeze (that's what my NAUI Scuba instructor used to call it) mask squeeze or goggle squeeze.

    What happens with goggles?

    1. When you start down pressure on the outside of the goggles rises, but pressure stays the same inside. This crushes the foam seals and starts to push the hard plastic into your eye sockets, and if you go down too far you can bruise the skin around your eyes.
    2. The water pressure transmits to your body and your blood pressure rises, but the pressure inside the goggles stays low, so there is a tendency for the blood vessels in the whites of your eyes to bulge, and if you go down too far, they can leak blood into the white part of your eyes, making you look like a vampire.


    Here are some photos of people who went down too far wearing goggles and got red eyes and bruising around the eye sockets

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    From my own experience, from everybody I've talked to who's tried it, and everything I've read, you should not dive deeper than 2 m/7 ft wearing the hard plastic racing goggles.

    To test it I went out in the pool on one of the freediving nights with my depth gauge wearing Speedo racing goggles and slowly started down. Sure enough, by 6 or 7 feet, my eyes were feeling like they were being pushed out and going further down to 10 feet (3 metres) made me start to feel like my eyes might get hurt.

    So, if you want to go deep, what's a solution to the problem?

    One solution is to wear a dive mask with a nose pocket, so you can blow air into the mask through your nose and keep the pressure inside the mask equal to the water pressure outside. The problem is dive masks look even dorkier on a mermaid than goggles do, but to protect yourself if you're diving deep, or are in water you wouldn't want to get into either your eyes or your nose, it can be worth it.

    Even if you do wear a mask, you must remember to equalize! From time to time people forget, and they get the red eyes. You can usually tell whether a person gave themselves a squeeze in a dive mask because they don't have the bruises around their eye sockets, they just get red eyes. Here's an example of eye squeeze from forgetting to equalize a dive mask.

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    So, are there goggles that let you go deep without hurting your eyes?

    Yes, there are.

    The problems of using goggles were known among the Ama divers of Japan & Korea, and pearl divers even in the 19th century, and most of them dived without eye protection. In the 1920s a Japanese inventor created the "self-equalizing goggles" that had a rubber bulb attached to each eyepiece by a tube, and as the diver descended, the bulb would squeeze and equalize the pressure inside the eyepiece with the outside water pressure.

    They're not made anymore, but Fosco Maraini, an ethnologist from Italy, studied the Ama divers in the 1950s, because their way of life was changing fast and he wanted to capture their old way of life on film before it disappeared. Here is a photo of the goggles Ama divers used from the 1920s to the early 1960s.

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    Here are some photos taken in 1956 showing how the divers would wear them.

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    The bulbs had long tubes that went into the side of the eyepieces, and they were attached by strings or wires to the straps back around the ears, because they floated, and if they were too close to the eyepieces, they would pull the eyepiece upward.

    Fosco Maraini said in his study of the Ama people, that the divers would often go down as deep as 18 m/60 ft wearing these goggles.

    You can also see the weight belts these divers wore, made from 2 pieces of rope with cylindrical weights slid onto the rope, and tied in front in a knot.

    BTW these women were tough, they dived in the Sea of Japan, which is a cold body of water even in summer, wearing just a bathing suit bottom. By the mid-1960s, wetsuits had come to Japan, and the Ama divers started wearing wetsuits and dive masks with nose coverage, and the old self-equalizing goggles disappeared.

    It seems that it wouldn't be too hard to make goggles like this yourself. Drill holes in the eyepieces and glue in some tubes, then attach rubber bulbs at the other end and use twistems to attach them to the straps.

    It would be a matter of opinion whether these goggles would look better or worse than a dive mask, though, I guess.

    I think I'll continue in a separate post.
    Last edited by AptaMer; 06-28-2014 at 07:12 AM.

  2. #2
    So, here's another solution to the goggle eye squeeze problem that some inventors have come up with: Pipe Goggles

    The idea is you run a pair of tubes from your mouth to the eyepieces, so you can equalize the pressure using your mouth as you descend.

    Here's the direct design

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    and here's a design where the tubes go around behind the ears

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  3. #3

  4. #4
    Another goggle that seems to work are the wooden goggles made by craftsmen from Oceania. They have been made for hundreds of years throughout Melanesia and Polynesia, and in Indonesia and the Philippines. They are handmade by skilled woodworkers. They were being used in the Hawaiian islands long before the development of modern goggles.

    I have no idea why you can wear these things deep, but people have been testing them and it does seem you can go much deeper wearing these than you can with modern hard plastic goggles without hurting your eyes. I have no explanation for how this works, but here's a video of a freediver going down to 10 m wearing a pair, with no harm.

    http://youtu.be/Hg9NuDTl4sc

    There are some companies selling them online

    http://woodengoggles.com/

    but I had always thought the way they worked so well was that the goggle maker customized them to fit individual wearers. People have also put up instructions online on how to make them yourself.

    http://makezine.com/2006/09/07/how-t...wooden-diving/

    http://blog.modernmechanix.com/make-...iving-goggles/

  5. #5
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    Thanks, Aptamer!

    I have a keen interest in diving safety.
    At least I now know I never had squeeze, because my eyes didn't look like that ever.
    What I do get, however, is very red eyes, like from chlorine or an allergy, if I wear a diving mask.
    I think it's some materials of the mask I react allergic to, like plastic fumes, not sure.

    At any rate, it has prevented me from wearing a diving mask, so I use big goggles in shallow water (never deeper than 2m), and using nothing at all when diving in lakes/ocean.
    It's probably not the best idea to not wear eye protection underwater, but the red rash I get in the eyes from diving masks is even worse

    Edit: I also get red rashes and swellings of the skin around the eyes when wearing goggles (just where the silicone is), and a similar thing from silicone caps where they touch my skin on the forehead, and my earplugs itch and feel uncomfortable after a few minutes, guess what they're made of: silicone.
    It really looks like I might be one of those rare peeps having a silicone allergy.
    It has also begun less severe and got worse over time.

    That sucks. I don't think there are diving masks, goggles, or bathing caps made from other materials.
    Not to mention I can never get a silicone tail (I don't have the money for that anyway, but still. ).
    Last edited by Echidna; 06-18-2014 at 06:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Euro Pod Lucinda's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting this, AptaMer. I found this very informative. Now I finally know why goggles and diving masks are so different in terms of shape. I've been wondering that since I was a kid.
    ~~ Awaken your Inner Mermaid ~~


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  7. #7
    You're welcome. There is one other thing I've learned about a certain kind of mask I thought I would share. It's called the Technisub Sphera, and it's rather unique because of its cheap construction.

    Here's a picture of the mask

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    It was originally sold under the Aquasphere brand, the US Divers company that caters to swimmers and triathletes, because they conceived of it as a cheap mask swimmers would buy for training. It didn't sell so well to the swimming crowd, but freedivers discovered it, and started buying it in large numbers, so US Divers started marketing it under the Technisub name. If you find one labelled as an Aquasphere Sphera, it's the same mask, just older stock from before the name change several years ago.

    It's very cheapness is what makes it a good freediving mask. It has thin plastic lenses instead of glass ones, and if you look at the second photo, you'll notice they are curved. The minimum amount of silicone is used in the skirt, and the the curved lenses mean the mask kind of wraps around your face, and even less silicone material is needed to make the skirt.

    This means that the mask has a very low air volume, one of the lowest of any mask made. The low air volume is good when breathhold diving, because it means it takes less air to equalize the pressure inside the mask to the outside. Less air used equalizing means more air for you in your lungs.

    Also, the cheap plastic lenses and the soft silicone skirt can be compressed and bowed inwards by increasing water pressure as you dive, and this compensates for the pressure difference as you go down.

    This means that you can go down to amazing depths before you have to equalize this mask. Many freedivers say they can go 10 m/30 ft before they have to equalize. I have this mask, and have gone to 20 ft without equalizing. I'm not up for trying to go too far without equalizing, but even 20' is way more than you could go with most masks. I even know a freediver who claims she went down to 90 ft wearing a sphera without equalizing the mask (you still have to keep your ears equalized).

    I do know that in our freediving training pool I can go right down to the deepest point in the pool without equalizing the mask. That's why underwater hockey and underwater rugby players love this mask. The low volume saves air, and if you learn how to keep your ears equalized without pinching your nose, you can zoom up and down to any depth in the pool without losing your focus on the game.

    The downside to this mask is that the cheap lenses scratch relatively easily, and people find they're not as durable as higher end masks. Also, never sit on them-LOL. They come with a nice clamshell case, and I personally keep mine in its case at all times when I'm not wearing it. I've gone a few years without scratching the lenses.

    You might wonder about the curved lenses, whether they distort your view through the lenses once you're in the water. Yes, they do. The funny thing I've found though is, after you've been in the water a while wearing it, your brain figures out the change in perspective, especially if you reach out and touch other people or things, and all of a sudden, you see the undersea world without distortion, just as well as you do with flat lenses. It's kind of cool in fact. The curvature gives you a very wide field of view, so you can see waaay out to the sides. This is another reason this mask is super popular with underwater hockey players. They can see people coming at them from the side.

    Anyhow, maybe this will help.

    Also, FWIW, this mask is actually made using the same frame, strap and lenses as the Aquasphere Seal swimming goggles (another way the company saves money).

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    I have never worn the Seal goggles, so can't say whether you can dive deeper without equalizing using them or not, but if someone tries them out, maybe they could review them here on MerNetwork?
    Last edited by AptaMer; 06-22-2014 at 12:06 AM.

  8. #8
    And last, but not least, there is another solution to the equalization issue with goggles. So-called fluid goggles are ones that you fill with water rather than leaving air in them. Actually, you fill them with sterile saline solution like you get at the chemist's.

    Since water is incompressible, the pressure stays the same inside and outside of the goggles (I always knew those physics classes would be useful in the real world- LOL, I'm definitely a science nerd).

    They're a bit difficult to use (see the video below) but they can look amazing in the water since some models are almost invisible when wearing them in the water.



    They're also super expensive!

    Here's another brand: https://www.liquivision.com/fluidgoggles.php

  9. #9
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    I've looked into liquid goggles, and people who had them said they were no good for exploration/snorkelling/any activity where you want to see something.
    They're mostly for deepdivers (think no limits) who only need to see when they've arrived at their planned depth, and be able to pull the balloon string.
    Thus, for tailswimming and reef exploration, not recommended.

    I like the idea of equalizable goggles though with the tubes, I'm just not sure if I could build them

    I owned an aquasphere seal mask/goggles.
    2 actually. both leaked for me, and I gave them away because no matter how much I adjusted them, they always leaked (apparently my face is too narrow; I now have a kid's mask, and it's the only one that is usable, although it too tends to flood as soon as I do any tricks underwater )

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by caltuna View Post
    I owned an aquasphere seal mask/goggles.
    2 actually. both leaked for me, and I gave them away because no matter how much I adjusted them, they always leaked (apparently my face is too narrow; I now have a kid's mask, and it's the only one that is usable, although it too tends to flood as soon as I do any tricks underwater )
    Yes, that accords with my experience. I've known a couple of people with very narrow faces, and my Sphera mask leaked on them.

    They have found a mask that seals on their faces really well, though. It's another freediving mask called the Minima, made by Italian company Cressi.

    http://youtu.be/iK0tyj07zBY

    http://youtu.be/qlMKfO_bq0A
    Last edited by AptaMer; 06-28-2014 at 07:03 AM. Reason: Added some video links that should work

  11. #11
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    I can't see the attachment, but I'll look into that mask.
    would be neat to have one which doesn't flood when I barrel roll or flip.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Pod of Texas Seatan's Avatar
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    Also, not everyone will NEED to equalize a mask the size of a dive mask. I have gone down 90 feet without equalizing my mask (ears, yes, but not mask), which is as deep as I will probably ever go without an air supply. That's the funky thing about diving: People are REALLY different in their needs for things, and every dive can be different, too. While you should always be aware of safety guidelines, the lines are not as hard and distinct as we sometimes make it sound online. I have no problem going down twenty feet in swim goggles. Some people might get mask squeeze, but plenty of other do not. It depends on a ton of factors, including how small those goggle are compared to your face shape. Water is a tricky thing, so if you want to TRY going down to the bottom of a deep pool in swim goggles, then do it. Just make sure you STOP if you feel the mask starting to compress onto your face. (Trust me, you can FEEL it. It's kind of like equalizing your ears--you don't WANT to go any deeper because it's uncomfortable.) You can be safe and still experiment to find out what your own limits are.

    Of course, I prefer masks with nose pockets simply because if you get water in your mask it is easy to clear it.
    Once upon a time I was known as Seavanna. Going by Seatan these days. I always wanted to be the high lord of underwater hell.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Undisclosed Pod Mermaid Melanie's Avatar
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    Mask Squeeze is a pretty common thing in diving, not always to the extent of those photos mind you, but you get people with red/ swollen / bruised eyes quite often. Anyone wearing a mask and descending will have to equalise it, to some people its second nature and not a bother, some people don't even realise they are doing it, to others its not quite so natural to breathe in through the mouth and out through the nose, which you also can see when people find it hard to clear water from a mask.

    My boyfriend David found an Aquasphere mask ( without the nose pocket ) while diving a few months back, Ive tried it in the pool with a nose clip and it was for sure a lot different from using a normal mask - the lenses and slightly curved at the side and are made out of plastic which actually gives a more realistic /less warped view of what its like underwater. They were comfortable, streamlined and compressible... Im just not used to using a nose clip and wasn't totally comfortable with it but would recommend it to people as it was a nice fit and great for pool work !

    ( working as a diver you find masks all the time lol sometimes brand new ones ... along with an assortment of other dive equipment, cameras, belts etc )
    Yougot your own style, now let it come through. And remember no matter what, you got to be you. -Sebastian

  14. #14
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Adding a mask I found whilst googling for ear plugs.
    https://www.proear2000.com/
    Formerly known as ireneho

  15. #15
    Cool mask. Thanks for posting Jaffa.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Euro Pod Echidna's Avatar
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    yep.
    That mask would cut down my needed equipment pieces quite a bit (noseplug, earplugs, goggles, divemask )
    which sometimes are a hassle in open water swimming/diving.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    I read the tech info, but without seeing it in action, I don't understand how that mask works.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pod of the Midwest
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    I am not known for a weak stomic (or being able to ever spell it), but OMG thats insane I may need to run to the bathroom...I hope it didn't hurt.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Pod of Oceania Mermaid Jaffa's Avatar
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    Echidna, if you ever get round to buying that mask. Show us how it works and if its any good.
    Formerly known as ireneho

  20. #20
    Hi Mermaid Jaffa,

    Here's how the ProEar mask works. Perhaps showing a picture first would help:

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    As you can see, it has cups on the side that you place over your ears.

    The ear cups have silicone skirts that seal to the side of your head, just like the facemask skirt seals to your face.

    Also, you can see that the strap goes over the ear cups and then around the back of your head, so it tends to press the cups against the side of your head so you get a seal, and your ears stay dry instead of being exposed to water that can get into your ear canals.

    Now, there is a flexible tube going between the facemask and each ear cup.

    When you blow air through your nose into the facemask to equalize the pressure between the mask and the outside water, the air also flows into each ear cup and equalizes the pressure between them and the outside water. This prevents water pressure from crushing the ear cups into your skin and bruising you.

    Of course, you still still have to equalize your eardrums, as always.

    Hope this helps.

    Also- note, this mask would only be useful for scuba diving, or mer diving with a tank. It will take so much air to equalize the facemask plus ear cups, that you would run out of air equalizing all that volume if you were freediving.

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