After running out of food, a quick trip to the grocery store is in order. Being a good citizen, you put on your mask to protect your fellow Americans. “Quick” is the operative word if you want to cut down on possible exposure time to COVID-19. For those of you who wear glasses, things can get pretty foggy, adding more time to your shopping trip, right?
While wearing a mask, one’s glasses tend to fog up pretty quickly. Sometimes it comes and goes as you breathe in and out. Other times the mist sticks and won’t come off unless you wipe it down. Ever try to clean your glasses in the middle of the pasta aisle while several people standing six feet away are waiting for you to leave? Yeah, it’s not fun and you can’t see! All these impairments can add several extra unwanted minutes to your shopping trip.
There’s science behind foggy glasses while wearing a mask. Condensation of water vapor from your breath collects onto the glass. Since glass surfaces are colder and drier than we are, our breath condenses on the glass.
Now that science class is over, let’s get to a solution.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy fix for glasses fogging. I’ve personally found that using a pleated mask produces a little less fog than a non-pleated mask if I wear it high on the bridge of my nose,” said Dr. Alex Baker, OD, who is a doctor of optometry in Northern California. Baker says the pleats provide extra space around your mouth and nose and direct the air downward.
“I also move my glasses slightly forward down the bridge of my nose to create more space behind the lenses. It’s not foolproof, but it seems to perform a little better,” said Baker.
Since finding a pleated mask was nearly impossible, I tried a few hacks of my own:
Breathe Like Playing the Flute
This does work, but it takes a lot of effort, concentration, and skill. You have to hold your lips down just perfectly like you’re blowing into a flute. The lips must be in the exact position, or it won’t work, and it must happen with every breath, or the fog comes back. I tried doing it while picking out produce, and I just couldn’t keep it up.
The Dishwashing Liquid Technique
I found several articles online suggesting that dishwashing liquid creates a barrier on the glass. One drop on each side of both lenses, rub it in and let it sit for 15 minutes. Use a microfiber cloth to polish off the residue. This did not work for me at all.
A Tissue is Not Just for a Cold
I crumbled up a tissue, put it under my nose then put my mask on. This worked but breathing became a chore, and sometimes my glasses fogged up just a little.
Seal the Mask with Your Glasses
Place the upper part of the mask all the way to the top of the bridge of your nose, then put your glasses on top of the mask. This worked the best. It didn’t completely stop the fog, but it did cut down on the amount making it easier for me to see.
I concur with Dr. Baker: There’s really no easy fix for foggy glasses while wearing a mask, but maybe try what’s on the list to see what works for you. If all else fails, you can try glasses that have an anti-fog coating or a solution that stops fog. Just make sure the solution won’t affect any other coatings you may have on your glasses. Happy breathing!