How To Stop Your Glasses From Fogging Up When You Wear A Face Mask

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How To Stop Your Glasses From Fogging Up When You Wear A Face Mask
Self

As most people are wearing protective face masks to safeguard against the spread of coronavirus, they may notice issues popping up. Discomforts include masks sliding down, being too tight, causing abrasions from extended use, and leaving marks, particularly on the ears. 

But while those who wear contact lenses are able to see while wearing their face masks, those who wear glasses are noticing that their lenses fog up.

“Many of my colleagues in medical practice have reported personal accounts of eyeglass fogging,” says Dr. Jennifer Peterson, O.D. Whether in the workplace or performing daily activities, eyeglass-wearers are searching for a way to mitigate fogging.

Why do eyeglasses fog up when wearing face masks?

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"The reason our glasses fog up is because the warm, humid air of our breath escapes the edges of the mask and changes to the vapor form as it encounters the relatively cooler surface of the glasses," advises John A. Pilavas, MD. This process is called condensation.

Ultimately, you want to minimize the amount of air that escapes your mask, especially near the area where the mask makes contact with your glasses.

Adds Dr. Pilavas, "You can do this by pinching the tip of your mask so that it conforms to the shape of your nose. This creates a larger reservoir for your breath to circulate in, and minimizes the amount of air that can funnel to the top of the mask."

The type of mask you wear will play a role in how well this works. Fortunately, there are other ways to limit your breath from escaping.

Here's how to stop your glasses from fogging up when you wear a mask.

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1. Be aware of your mask positioning.

Much like with any other instrument or tool we may consider using, the way we position it will influence the fit and how that fit feels. In this case, where your glasses sit on your face (and on your nose) will impact the feel, and also how well they do their job.

"Placing your glasses more forward along the bridge of your nose (further from the edge of the mask) can help, but may affect your glasses' ability to work, especially if you are nearsighted (myopic)," Dr. Pilavas notes.

2. Try anti-fog sprays.

Anti-fog spray is the eyeglasses version of washing your wind shield with fluid or Windex-ing your windows. It's available at most drugstores or on Amazon for under $10.

A variety of over-the-counter "anti-fog" sprays and pastes are directly applied to the lenses of glasses and aid in this issue. This is also very useful in humid environments or one where you may be sweating and fogging up your glasses.

But if you don't have anti-fog sprays, there's another useful solution! Recommends Dr. Pilavas, "A preventative home remedy or hack that exists is to wipe your glasses with a fairly concentrated solution of diluted Dawn and water."

3. Find out if your mask is adjustable.

Assure your mask has an adjustable nose piece. This is a wire in the area of the mask where your nose will be that's, quite simply, adjustable to ensure a comfortable fit.

“A mask that is tighter on top and looser towards the chin will facilitate downward air flow without sacrificing protection from air droplets,” Dr. Peterson advises. Medical grade masks for essential workers would be fitted, of course, so this does not apply to that.

How can you make your mask adjustable? Try folding down the top 1/3 part of the mask, assuring that you do not touch the inside to prevent contamination.

4. Add a protective barrier.

An adhesive can be helpful in this situation, as well. This offers a kind of barrier so the mask is not flushed against the nose and mouth, which can make the mask uncomfortable, and also impact the fit.

An ill-fitting mask contributes to fogging up of glasses, but there's a simple solution to that, too: "Take medical or parchment tape and place it over the bridge of the nose,” Dr. Peterson recommends. This is a good solution for those who aren't allergic to any adhesives.

5. Tackle moisture.

Much like with adhesive making masks more comfortable, a breathable fabric will help to create a barrier that will absorb the moisture that causes the fog.

“Use a breathable piece of fabric, like a small cotton cloth or tissue, to help absorb the moisture by your mouth, which can be causing the fog,” says Heidi Hertel, founder of Fitz Frames and Fitz Protect.

RELATED: 6 Ways To Make Your Face Mask More Comfortable

6. Add a cream or soap.

A liquid or cream barrier is a useful solution. Apply shaving cream or hard soap to the inside of the lenses, and then buff with a cleaning cloth afterwards. This has shown to be successful in preventing fogging.

Of course, take precaution before doing so: “I caution that chemicals in the product may impact the surface of the lens. Check with your optometrist before attempting this method,” advises Dr. Peterson.

Soap is also a great way to provide a protective barrier on your lens. Adds Hertel, “Simply wash your lenses with a sudsy solution!"

7. Sanitize your glasses daily with rubbing alcohol.

Disinfect your glasses daily since sanitary living is the name of the game right now.

"Any solution that is Isopropyl alcohol concentration 70 percent or greater kills COVID-19 on contact. But these solutions can also harm the lenses of your glasses, especially if they have any special coating on them. Regular soap and water on a washcloth once daily should do the trick," recommends Dr. Pilavas.

8. Temporarily switch to contact lenses.

If all other options don't work for you, this is a good time to consider taking a break from your glasses and switching to contact lenses. This will help you avoid the fogging issue altogether.

"Because the contact lenses are in such intimate contact with our eyeballs, this temperature gradient does not exist for contact lenses, so fogging is not an issue," says Dr. Pilavas.

Contact lenses offer the vision and reading benefits of glasses, without having to wear glasses. That’s very useful if fogging is an issue.

Adds Dr. Peterson, “Glasses may also serve as a fomite (an inanimate object that can become contaminated with infectious agents and serve as a mechanism for transfer between hosts). As we condition ourselves to avoid touching our faces in public settings, the same hygiene habits should be implemented with glasses wear.”

RELATED: How To Protect Your Eyes Against Coronavirus By Wearing Glasses Instead Of Contact Lenses

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.

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