Wearing face masks often leads to foggy glasses. Here are some tipps to keep your lenses from fogging when using a cloth, surgery or N95 mask.
Face masks: Why do glasses get foggy?
In order to understand how you can prevent your glasses from becoming foggy, you must understand why this happens in the first place. The explanation is simple:
- When we breathe out, the air is warm. Warm air rises above cold air – but we usually don’t notice this when breathing without using a face mask.
- If we wear a mask, the warm air that we exhale can escape only through the top of the mask.
- When the warm vapor touches the cold surface of the lenses, it produces condensation. The tiny water droplets impair your vision.
- If you wear glasses on a daily basis, you might have noticed a similar effect when being outside in the cold and entering a warm room.
How to prevent your glasses from fogging up
Now that you know how this “mist” is produced, it’s easier to prevent it. Depending on the type of mask you are wearing, you should try one of the following methods:
- Glasses won’t fog up as much if you wear a cloth mask or a mask with an exhalation valve. But please keep in mind that these types of masks offer less protection against viruses. For example: if you have COVID-19 and use a mask with valves, the air you exhale can infect the people around you, too.
- If you opted for a cloth mask or for surgery masks, buy a model that has a bendable metal strip. You can use this piece of metal to mold the mask to your nose.
- For masks without a metal strip, you can try using the nose pads of your glasses to keep the mask in place. Taping the mask is also an alternative. You can use simple or double sided sports or medical tape. Don’t use duct tape or other products with adhesives that could irritate your skin.
- Especially if you use N95 respirators (also known as FFP2 masks in Europe, KN95 or P2 in other parts of the world), make sure the mask fits well. This type of mask offers the best protection – but only if it fits well. If it’s too big, not only will your glasses fog up, but you are also exposed to viruses.
- Use water and (dish) soap to clean your glasses, as it keeps them from fogging up. If you are willing to pay more, you could buy anti-fog wipes, protective sprays, or anti-fog lenses.
- Breathing downward might feel strange or silly, but it really helps! When you breathe out, imagine you are playing a flute and hold your upper lip over your lower lip.
- It’s not really an alternative, but might be the last solution in certain circumstances: use contact lenses instead of glasses.
- And a last piece of advice: no matter what type of mask you use, change it if it gets moist due to the condensation.