Mask Squeeze

Reviewed on 10/12/2021

Mask Squeeze Definition and Overview

Mask squeeze (also called face squeeze) is a type of barotrauma that occurs when scuba diving as a result of failing to equalize the pressure inside the diving mask.

Mask squeeze, also known as face squeeze is a feeling that occurs when scuba diving as a result of failing to equalize the pressure inside the diving mask. As a diver descends under the surface of the water, the pressure increases, which exerts pressure on the body. The air in the mask has more pressure put on it, and therefore becomes painful against the face unless the pressure is allowed to equalize. The way to keep the pressure equalized in the mask is to exhale through the nose.

Mask Squeeze Symptoms

Mask squeeze symptoms include:

  • Facial bruising and redness
  • Facial pressure
  • Nosebleed
  • Red eyes or face
  • Changes in vision (rare)

Mask Squeeze Treatment

Mask squeeze usually does not require any specific treatment and is self-limited. Some common treatment includes:

  • If a person experiences a mask squeeze, that person should discontinue diving until healed.
  • Mask squeeze can be prevented by equalizing the pressure in the mask as the diver descends on their dive.
  • OTC pain medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) may be taken for discomfort.

When to Seek Medical Care for Mask Squeeze

If changes in vision occur, see a doctor or eye specialist (ophthalmologist) as soon as possible.

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Scuba Diving

Barotrauma/Decompression Sickness Symptoms

  • External ear squeeze: Pain in your ear canal and blood from your ear
  • Middle ear squeeze: Ear fullness, pain, eardrum rupture,
  • Inner ear barotrauma: Feeling that your ear is full, nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ear, dizziness, and hearing loss
  • Sinus squeeze: Sinus pressure, pain, or nasal bleeding
  • Face mask squeeze: "Bloodshot" eyes and redness or bruising of the face under the mask
  • Lung squeeze: Chest pain, cough, bloody cough, and shortness of breath
  • ...
Reviewed on 10/12/2021
Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, D.O.; American Osteopathic Board Certified Internal Medicine


"DAN Medical Frequently Asked Questions: Mask Squeeze."