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Home » Articles by Urban Opticians » Face Masks and Foggy Glasses By Dr. M. Jafferji

Face Masks and Foggy Glasses By Dr. M. Jafferji

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Since the COVID-19 crisis began, wearing face masks is becoming more and more common. Individuals that wear prescription eyeglasses or protective goggle will undoubtedly have faced the annoyance of it getting fogged up while wearing a face mask. The science behind why our glasses fog when we wear a mask is fairly simple. As we wear our masks, warm breath escapes from the top of the mask and lands on the cooler lenses of our glasses. When that happens, it creates condensation, or fog. You may have noticed a similar effect when wearing glasses with a scarf in the winter, or when opening a hot oven door.

So how do I prevent my glasses from fogging when I wear a mask?

Here are some ways to keep your glasses clear when wearing a mask:

  • Improve the fit of your mask. Many medical masks feature a bendable metal strip that allows the wearer to mold the mask to their nose and cheeks. However, you don’t need a surgical mask to achieve a good fit. If you have a home made mask then you can sew a piece of bendable wire or twist tie onto the top of your mask. You also want to adjust your mask’s straps or ear loops. When the mask fits properly, most of your breath should go through it, not out the top or sides.
  • Tape your mask. Most doctors use tape to prevent foggy glasses while they work. To DIY it, tape your mask across the bridge of your nose and across your cheeks. You can use any type of tape, be it adhesive, medical, or athletic, just make sure you avoid duct tape. Test the tape on a different part of your body to ensure it doesn’t irritate your skin.
  • Pull your mask up. A simple way to decrease the amount of fog on your specs is to pull your mask higher on your face and use the weight of your glasses on top of the mask to block the flow of air. This method is more effective with large, thick frames.
  • Use a commercial anti-fog wipe or spray. Keep in mind that anti-fog solutions may not work as well on glasses with certain coatings, such as anti-glare, anti-fingerprint, or anti-smudge, and so it’s important to read the fine print on each product. A very good anti-fog cleaner balm that we recommend is from Liberty Sport.

Will rubbing soap or shaving cream on my glasses prevent them from fogging?

As more people struggle with foggy glasses, several home remedies have made the rounds, including treating glasses with soapy water, shaving cream, baby shampoo, or toothpaste. These solutions may have some merit. Washing glasses with soapy water and letting them air dry can help prevent fogginess because the soap acts as a surface active agent, or surfactant, and leaves behind a thin film that helps prevent fog.

Substances like shaving cream, baby shampoo, and toothpaste can all accomplish this, however, they aren’t widely used because they don’t last too long and aren’t as effective as other methods.