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How to Prevent Glasses from Fogging Up While Wearing a Mask

Glasses wearers have encountered a challenge in COVID-19 mask-mandated age: How to keep spectacles from fogging up when they breathe. Glasses and masks don’t always work together well - a tough lesson to learn, especially if you’re not used to wearing masks.

It’s not like you can do without one or the other - unless there’s Lasik surgery in your future. The hot air you exhale slips through your mask and onto your lenses. Hot air + cool surface = foggy glasses by condensation. The same happens when you enter a warm building from cold air, and when you walk into an air-conditioned space out of the summer heat.

You don’t want to compromise the protection you get from a mask for the sake of clear vision. Especially for people working essential jobs - or working because their income is essential to their family.

We’ll examine tips and tricks people have conjured in this time of need. It starts with clean glasses (wash with soap and lukewarm water - just a drop on each side of each lens - and allow them to air dry, or with a microfiber cloth.) Use liquid soap, and never one with lotion, which can damage the coating on lenses. 

This isn’t a cureall for foggy lenses (despite what you might read online!), but starting out with clean glasses is something you should do anyway. 

(Other hacks - such as using an anti-fog cleaning solution or rubbing a bar of soap or shaving cream on the lenses, then rinsing - don’t always work.)

 

How to keep your glasses from fogging up when you’re wearing a mask:

1. Add tissue paper inside the top of your mask

Fold a tissue into a small strip about three-fourths of an inch tall. Place it inside your paper mask, at the top, on top of the nose piece. This absorbs moisture and becomes an obstacle for breath that might escape at the top of your mask - and fog your glasses.

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This technique moderately prevented fogging, but not completely. Also, the added padding under your mask can be annoying and could slip if it’s free-floating. It’ll work well enough if you have no other alternative.
 

2. Wear your glasses over your mask

If you push your glasses down lower on your nose and onto your mask, you create a bigger gap between your eyes and glasses.
This helps warm air to pass up through your glasses without fogging them. If wearing glasses lower on your nose isn’t optimal, bring your mask higher your face, and rest your glasses on it. 

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It goes a long way to keeping lenses clear. Be sure your mouth and nose are fully covered.
 

3. Add surgical tape

Place a strip of surgical tape along the top of your mask, half on the mask, half on your face. This creates a seal between your mask and face to keep your breath from escaping to the top of your mask and into your glasses. It forces air to move through the sides or front of the mask.
Use non-irritating, hypoallergenic tape for best results. It’ll come off easily and not irritate the sensitive skin around your eyes. In a pinch, bandaids will work, too.

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Excellent results with this one, so long as the surgical tape stays in place. Keep the roll with you, because you’ll have to replace the tape each time you remove your mask.

4. Get a mask that fits right

Your mask should fit securely and tightly over your nose. Masks with an aluminum strip can be shaped to fit the contours of your nose and cheeks. Include a pipe cleaner or twist tie inside the top of the mask to serve the same purpose if you’re making your own.

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If your mask is loose enough to leave gaps along your cheeks, nose, and chin, they won’t be as effective as a tightly fitting mask. Wearing an effective barrier on your face is much more important than keeping your glasses clear.


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