Following the CDC’s recent recommendations, cities across the country – from Los Angeles to Laredo, Texas – are implementing policies requiring citizens to wear face masks in public in an effort to help prevent the spread of coronavirus – which is likely to be the case for a while. For most of us, this feels strange and a bit uncomfortable. However, for the millions of Americans who rely on prescription glasses, wearing a mask poses another challenge: their mask fogging up glasses. Wearing a mask traps warm air from your breathing against your face. When warm air hits the relative cool of your lenses, that’s when the condensation – or fogging – effect occurs.
This is problematic for a number of reasons:
- You cannot see when your glasses are fogged up and if you remove your glasses, you really can’t see.
- Leaving your glasses on may require you to touch your face, especially when out in public, which is strongly discouraged. So, if your mask is fogging up your glasses, taking them off, wiping them, and then putting them back on is likely to include touching your face.
- But you need your glasses to see when you are out in public. Even if you are only going out to essential businesses, you need to be able to see to safely navigate, read signs or labels and generally be productive.
We’ve discussed the importance of personal hygiene as it relates to eyewear in this recent post, which is a good place to start. Here are a few tips for helping your glasses not to fog up when you’re wearing a mask in public:
- First, it’s important to be sure you are wearing your mask properly. The CDC recommends cloth masks fit “snugly, but comfortably” against your face and should be worn to cover your nose and mouth.
- Ensure the mask molds to your face – especially across the top of your nose to better prevent the moisture from the mask fogging up your glasses. Some cloth masks include a metal nose clip in the design, which can help shape the fabric to your nose. Some are even adding a pipe cleaner to help keep the warm air away from your lenses.
- Some have suggested soaping the lenses prior to wear, which can help for a short period of time. Other home remedies include toothpaste, baby shampoo, and shaving cream.
- Purchasing anti-fog spray for your glasses also may help alleviate the problem.
- One other technique suggested by Lifehacker is to consider is adjusting your breathing, directing your exhalation downward to help keep the warm air away from your lenses (pretend like you’re playing the flute and breathe downwards).
- Clipping tissue to the inside also has been noted by some to help absorb the moisture.
We recommend trying a few of these techniques to see which works best for you and the type of mask you use. Importantly, whatever technique works for you, always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds immediately upon returning home and before you take your mask off. Put your mask in the wash and wash your hands again once you are finished touching your mask.
Needing glasses to see your way in the world can be a challenge, particularly now. We encourage you to use and clean your glasses safely, following CDC guidance. As we navigate in this new world of health and safety, talk with your eye doctor about any issues or concerns you have with your current vision correction. If you are looking into your vision correction options, including laser vision correction treatments such as LASIK, you can search for a surgeon in your area here.