Stop the fog – managing glasses and masks

Once upon a time we worried about our glasses fogging up when we were slaving over a hot stove, washing dishes, or jogging outdoors. Now with masks being a constant accessory in parts of the country we have another cause for the lenses to fog up.

Amanda Kammerer, optometrist and clinical manager of Eye Care for GMHBA, explores the reasons why our glasses fog when wearing a mask and what we can do to manage it.

Why do my glasses fog up?

With the wearing of a face masks, hot air can escape from the top of the mask causing fogging or condensation on lenses. Moisture in the air from warm breath or ambient air temperature can cool down and form condensation on the lenses. This occurs as the warm air comes in contact with the colder surface. The variation in air temperature can often be noticed when moving from hot to cold environments, participating in outdoor activities, cooking, or simply wearing helmets.

How do I stop my glasses fogging up while wearing a mask?

  1. Stop the air escaping
    • A properly fitted mask will limit the opportunity for air to escape and fog the lenses. Use a mask that has an adjustable wire in the top edge that you can shape to your nose and cheeks
    • Use medical tape to close the top of the mask to your skin
    • Place your frames over the top of the mask to hold it in close
    • Fold a tissue and place it between your skin and the top edge of the mask
  1. Keep the lenses clean
    • Cleaning lenses with soap, will leave a residue which helps repel the moisture build-up. Avoid specialty soaps/detergents that have those abrasive beads or harsh chemicals in them. Simple soap and hot water will clean the lenses, remove bacteria and viruses, and be safe for all parts of the glasses
    • Cleaning sprays will often be “anti-fog” and assist at keeping lenses clear
  1. Special lens coating
    • Multi-coats with a hydro-phobic property help dispel water
  1. Warm glasses before wear
    • The friction created by simply cleaning your lenses before wearing can reduce the variation in temperature
  1. The glasses can’t fog up if you don’t wear them
    • Contact lenses are not limited to just sports and social endeavours. For some they provide an opportunity to limit the difficulties of masks and glasses

For our members who are wearing masks, we thank you for what you are doing to help the health of our whole community.