Glasses fogging up because of your COVID-19 face mask? We're here to help

ByAlix Martichoux WPVI logo
Monday, April 20, 2020
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SAN FRANCISCO -- As public health officials warn people that we may be wearing face masks long past the peak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, some people are left with an irritating side-effect: foggy glasses.

Glasses wearers already have it hard enough as it is. There's the sun in your eyes while driving, frames slipping down the bridge of your nose while exercising, and now you've got fogged up lenses while wearing a face mask.

While this foggy glasses phenomenon may be new to the general public, it's old news for nearsighted nurses and doctors, who have been wearing face masks long before COVID-19. Back in 2011, a study from the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England sought to help those myopic health care workers.

Their findings were quite simple:

"Immediately before wearing a face mask, wash the spectacles with soapy water and shake off the excess. Then, let the spectacles air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on. Now the spectacle lenses should not mist up when the face mask is worn."

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Simple enough! Here are some other ways to keep your glasses from fogging up while wearing a face mask or covering:

  • Glasses fog up when you're wearing a face mask because the mask redirects your warm breath upward instead of forward, which forms droplets on the lenses. A tighter seal on the top of the mask, like from a nose clip can help reduce the phenomenon.
  • Adding a folded tissues to the inside top of your face mask or covering can also help absorb those warm droplets, and reduce fogging.
  • If those D.I.Y. methods aren't cutting it for you, there are commercial anti-fog sprays you can purchase, like the ones used for swimmers' or divers' goggles.

However you make it work, make sure your mask or face covering covers your nose and mouth. And remember, you don't need a medical-grade N95 mask to help curb the spread of coronavirus; those masks should be reserved for healthcare workers and others on the front lines fighting the virus, public health officials say.