You are here: Visionaries > Testimonials > 6. Eye Doctors who dive
Derin J. Van Loon, O.D.
Blustin Optical Center
213 West First Street
Duluth, MN 55802

May 21, 2002

Hello HydroOptix,

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to evaluate the prototype of the HydroOptix MEGA™ mask. I was pretty eager to try it here in Lake Superior… all I had to do was wait for an appropriate day.

Upon opening the package containing the mask, my first impression was, "This isn't that big!" After looking over your website, I had been expecting a larger mask, but in reality this mask is reasonably sized. I understand from talking to you that the production model will be somewhat smaller without any sacrifice in visibility. I think that will only enhance its appeal.

Well, the day of the dive arrived. About 40° F air temp, water temp 36° F. I was ready to go… I had decided to wear disposable contact lenses to precisely match my eyes to the underwater optics of the mask…being near-sighted already, this wasn't a major burden. With my wife assisting me with my gear, I was soon entering the Lake (while my wife stayed in the truck, heater blowing!). My first thought as I swam out was, "I hope the CoverLens for surface swimming is easy to use" since uncorrected, the topside vision was fuzzy. When I was in about 15 feet of water, I submerged, and proceeded to adjust buoyancy and acclimate to my surroundings. After about one minute, I realized I hadn't even thought about my vision. It was a smooth transition to underwater vision, and as I thought about my breadth of vision, I thought, "Wow!" The vision didn't just "seem" as natural as topside vision, it "was" natural! I took my time lazily swimming along the bottom, keenly aware of the seemingly limitless vision the MEGA mask afforded. I thought it regrettable that my wife hadn't accompanied me, since I really wanted to "field test" the situational awareness of my peripheral vision. I had to make do by holding my arms out to the side (allowing some inflow of cold Lake water in the process!) and bringing my hands in from the side until I could see them peripherally. Of note, there was no peripheral "blind spot" as I experience in my flat mask, just seamless vision.

Did you notice I have made no comments about the supposed mask "bulk?" Underwater, it was as if there was no mask on – the vision really was that good, and the mask just kind of "disappeared." I think I was spoiled by this mask when I realized that there was no discernible visual distortion of the type I experience with my flat mask.

I was sorry when I had to end my dive…max depth 45', bottom time 28 minutes, air consumption…well, remember, it was really cold! I slowly swam back to shore, savoring the dive I had just ended.

I look forward to many great dives with the production model, and I anticipate great interest within the diving public for this mask. To that end, I think your website has done an excellent job in aiding the understanding of the optics and vision correction issues associated with the MEGA mask. If my experience with the prototype is typical of the experience the average diver will have, I think the mask(s) will be a great success.

Again, thank you for the opportunity to evaluate the prototype. I have no reservations about the benefits of this mask.

Best regards,

Derin J. Van Loon, O.D.

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