Wearing a facemask has become the new normal. Both in terms of preventing things like COVID-19, but also as a sound preventative measure against basic things like the good old common cold or influenza. For people who wear eyeglasses and protective eyewear for work, a facemask can cause the lenses to fog up. Sometimes to a very unsafe level. Especially if you need to wear protective eyewear while working.
Why Do Glasses Fog Up When Wearing A Facemask?
As you are likely aware many of the facemasks available to consumers allow a little bit of the air you exhale to escape from the top of the mask. Of course, this air is warm and moist as it’s directly from your lungs. When it contacts the much cooler surface of the eyeglass lenses, condensation occurs. It’s very similar to the condensation that occurs when you breathe on a window on a cold winter morning or you leave a cold can of soda sitting on the table on a hot, humid day.
What Are My Anti-Fogging Options?
The truth is, this is a very old problem. Doctors, dentists, and other healthcare workers have been dealing with this problem for decades. It turns out there are a few popular options to consider.
Choose A Quality Mask For Your Face
Many of the best medical facemasks have a small bendable metal strip near the bridge of the nose. This allows you a little bit of customization as you can bend it to the unique contours of your nose and cheeks. This essentially directs the heat and humidity of your breath toward the cheeks rather than toward the eyes or eyeglasses.
If you are using a homemade mask, you can achieve this same effect. You’ll just need to find a way to sew a pipe cleaner or some doubled up twist ties into the fabric seam near the nose.
Tape Your Mask In Place
This isn’t necessarily a long-term fix, but it will work if you need a mask to get by for a quick pop into the shops. While you can certainly improvise with just about any type of tape, things like duct tape with its aggressive adhesive probably should be avoided. On the other end of the spectrum, electrical tape has a knack for coming loose quickly on the skin. If possible, you want to use medical or athletic tape.
Then apply a 3 to 5-inch strip on the seam of your facemask. Do you best to make sure half the width of the tape is on the seam of the mask and the other half is on your face. You might want to also fold half an inch over on itself on the end. This will create a little tag that you can easily grab a hold of when it comes time to peel the taped mask off your face.
Pull Your Mask Up
Some facemasks are large enough that you can adjust the upper edge to the lower rims of your glasses. Sometimes the simple weight and pressure of the frames will block enough of the upward airflow. Though this option is more likely to work with eyeglasses that have thick, heavy frames. It’s certainly not a perfect fit for all types of glasses and face masks.
Tie Your Mast In A Criss-Cross Pattern
Some masks have ties instead of elastic bands. One of the obvious benefits of this type of mask is that it spares your ears from the wear and tear of elastic. It also means that you can tie the mask as you see fit. Sometimes tying the mask in a criss-cross pattern behind your head will alter the way the mask sits on the bridge of your nose. This is a trick used by some surgeons. The net effect is that more of your breath goes out the sides of the mask by your cheeks, rather than up toward your glasses.
Apply An Anti-Fogging Agent To The Lenses
There are special wipes that are impregnated with an anti-fogging agent. When you gently wipe them on the surface of your eyeglasses the anti-fogging agent is transferred. Some manufacturers also offer a spray version. This will usually prevent fogging for the better part of a day or perhaps more depending on how much you handle your glasses.
Just keep in mind that the anti-fogging agent could potentially damage certain special coatings. It can also be a potentially expensive solution to the problem of foggy glasses as it usually costs around a dollar per application.
Improvise Your Own Anti-Fogging Agent
More than one person has taken it upon themselves to create their own home remedy for the fogging glasses problem. This includes things like rubbing the surface of the lenses with soapy water, shaving cream or a gentle shampoo like you would use to bathe a baby. The idea behind this is that the soap itself acts as a surfactant, which leaves a slightly foggy film on the lenses. Admittedly this isn’t a Go-To option, and it could damage special lens treatments.
Wearing a mask seems to be a part of the new normal, or maybe it should have been a part of the old normal during cold and flu season. Fogging glasses can certainly be annoying, and depending on what you’re doing badly fogged glasses could even be a safety hazard.
Finding the right mask to fit your face with an adjustable bridge is certainly the first place to start. This might call for making your own custom mask that you can then install with a moldable nose piece, with straps that you can tie behind your head in a crisscross pattern. This combines options to improve your chances of keeping your glasses fog-free.
If you are going to try some type of commercial or home remedy anti-fogging treatment, you might want to check with your optician to make sure you aren’t going to damage the lenses.