How to Prevent Foggy Glasses While Wearing a Mask

Do you wear glasses and face masks and often wonder how you can prevent foggy glasses while wearing a mask? If you do, you’re not alone. Wearing a face mask and glasses at the same time can be tricky.

But why do face masks fog up your glasses, you might ask?

One word: condensation.

Body heat and airflow lead to foggy lenses.

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What Causes the Condensation?

Water changes states depending on its temperature. It evaporates when it’s hot, and returns to liquid when cold. When you wear a face mask, it directs much of the air you exhale upwards.

Whenever you exhale while wearing a mask, the water molecules in your breath hit the mask. Some water molecules will go through your mask depending on how porous the mask material is.

The remainder of the water molecules will be diverted and escape through the nearest, simplest exit, which would be the area between your mask and your cheeks.

The air within your mask, which is kept warm by your breath, will always be colder than the air inside your glasses. The quick shift in temperature caused by your moisture-laden exhalation hitting your lenses generates condensation, resulting in an uncomfortable and temporarily blinding fog.

It can be annoying when your lenses fog up while you’re wearing a mask. Lens fog can go from mildly bothersome to downright dangerous because you can’t see.

Unfortunately, the fogging gets worse as lower temperatures lead to more misty lenses. Glasses have the tendency of fogging up when we wear masks because of the warm, humid breath your body generates. 

According to Yuna Rapoport, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist, when the humid air you breathe out goes up and has no place to circulate, it stays within the space enclosed by your glasses. This fogging issue gets even worse during workout sessions when there’s additional humidity in the air.

When it’s cold outside, as you breathe, your breath puffing up through the top of your mask clouds the lenses of your glasses. This occurs especially when you go from a colder atmosphere outside to warmer indoors, or from hot outdoors to cool air-conditioned indoors in the summer, and your mask isn’t snug around your face.

The effect is comparable to how the steam from a hot shower causes your chilly bathroom mirror to fog up.

Here are 10 ways to prevent foggy glasses while wearing a mask:

Adjust Your Glasses

If your glasses have nose pads, you can adjust the pads so the frames sit slightly farther from your face. This allows the hot air to escape rather than becoming trapped between your face and the lens of your glasses.

You should note that if you wear progressive lenses or lenses with a strong prescription, adjusting the nose pads may cause your vision to shift somewhat. If this occurs, you may need to adjust your head angle to compensate for the alteration of your eyesight.

Wear a Snug-Fitting Mask

Preventing warm air from escaping through the top of your mask is the best remedy for your fogging problem. A well-fitting mask can help you achieve this goal.

Wearing a snug-fitting mask with a tight seal across the top that keeps air from escaping is the easiest and least expensive approach to keeping your glasses from fogging.

Seal the Mask

You can place a piece of double-sided tape across the bridge of your nose before putting on your mask. You’ll create a better seal by putting double-sided tape between the inside of your mask and the bridge of your nose.

An additional piece of cellophane or masking tape can also be placed over the mask as well to create a better seal.

Use a Folded Tissue As Buffer

Placing a folded tissue between your mouth and the mask is a simple technique to prevent foggy glasses while wearing a mask. The warm, moist air you exhale will be absorbed by the tissue, keeping it from reaching your glasses.

To help direct your exhaled breath away from your eyes, make sure the top of your mask is snug and the bottom is slack.

Crisscross Mask Ties

If you’re wearing a surgical mask with ties, cross them so the top ties are below your ears and the bottom ties are above. This technique will result in a more snug, tighter fit of your mask.

Wash Your Lenses With Soapy Water

Another simple method to prevent fogging is by washing your glasses. Wash the lenses of your glasses with soapy water and shake off the excess water. Then allow the lenses to air dry before wearing a face mask.

This works because the soap forms a film on your glasses, which keeps them from fogging up. To use this technique, start with mild hand soap. If that doesn’t work, you may try dishwasher soap.

To avoid damaging your lenses, don’t clean them with household products such as shaving cream, baby shampoo, or toothpaste.

Use a Mask Extender

Wearing a mask extender connects the ear loops of the mask around the back of your head. This will help tighten the fit of the mask against your face without making you want to rip your ears out. Mask extenders are inexpensive and can be purchased online.

Breathe Downward

This technique might appear awkward, but breathing downward can be a quick anti-fog fix to prevent foggy glasses while wearing a mask. This sends more air away from your glasses.

So, how do you breathe downward?

You do so by holding your upper lip over your lower lip, then blowing air downward, as if you’re playing the flute.

Antifogging Wipes & Solutions

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To prevent foggy glasses while wearing a mask, you may use antifog lens wipes or antifog cloth. You can also use antifogging solutions used for scuba masks or ski goggles.

Consider Anti-fog Lenses

You might also consider buying eyeglass lenses with anti-fog coating. Whether your impeded vision is caused by a face mask or something else, an anti-fog coating on the lens of your glasses will provide a hassle-free solution to foggy glasses.

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