Wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In a health care setting, proper personal protective equipment often requires wearing a facemask and eye protection. For those who wear glasses, adding a mask to the mix can be bothersome.
When you wear a mask, the warm, moist air that you exhale is typically directed upwards, which can land on your cooler lenses and cause your glasses to fog up. This effect can be even worse in colder temperatures.
Marshfield Clinic Health System Optometrist Dr. Jill Dillon shares a few tips to help stop the fogging and keep you comfortable while wearing glasses and a mask.
Eliminate the fog
Dillon recommends first checking that the top of your mask is tight and the bottom is looser. This can move your breath away from your eyes and glasses.
“If your mask has a metal piece in the top, be sure to pinch that piece tight against your nose,” Dillon said. “If you have a homemade mask, try to cinch the fabric at the top as tight as you can to your nose and cheeks. Another option is to add a pipe cleaner in the top of the fabric that can then be molded to your face.”
Athletic or medical tape also can help seal the top of the mask around the bridge of your nose, Dillon said. Additionally, you can put a tissue inside the mask, up on your nose, so that this absorbs some of the moist air. One drawback to this is keeping the tissue in place.
If your masks has ties, crisscross the ties so the top ties come below your ears and the bottom ones go above. Dillon said this will help tighten the mask. However, masks with ear loops should be tightened without causing your ears to be sore.
“Many ideas exist on how to prevent sore ears from masks, including buttons on headbands, strap extenders and using tie masks,” Dillon said. You also may be able to attach the straps to the temples of your glasses, depending on what kind of frame you have.”
If all else fails, Dillon said pull the mask up as far as you can, while still being sure it stays under your chin. Let your glasses rest on top of the mask to create a better seal and avoid fogging.
Clear the fog
Dillon also offers a few ways to keep your lenses clear.
She recommends washing your lenses with soap and water and letting them air dry. This may leave a surfactant on the lens and help it from fogging. Commercial anti-fogging sprays and wipes do exist. However, Dillon said they can be expensive because you will need to use them every three to five days.
“Some lenses with anti-glare coating can be difficult to stop from fogging, even using these methods,” Dillon said.
If you are still having trouble with your glasses and masking, reach out to your eye care provider.