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Top tips to avoid foggy glasses when wearing a face mask


Hot breath escaping from the top of a face mask[1] can cause your spectacles or sunglasses to steam up, making it difficult to see clearly.


So, following the government’s advice that we should wear face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (eg: in some shops), Eye Health UK has compiled these six top tips to help Britain’s 30 Million + spectacle wearers beat the fog!


1.    Keep your lenses clean

Cleaning your lenses with your regular spectacle lens cleaning solution creates a thin film on the surface of the lens that can disperse fine water molecules in your breath and help prevent the lens misting up.


If you don’t have any lens cleaner to hand, try washing your lenses in warm soapy water.


Carefully wash your spectacles or sunglasses in soapy water – washing-up liquid works well – shake off any excess water and leave to air dry (or gently dry with a soft cloth).


Never use a paper towel or your sleeve to dry your lenses and avoid abrasive cleaners.


2.    Apply anti-fog lens coatings or sprays

Your dispensing optician can provide remote (telephone / email or video conference) advice on anti-fog lens coating or off-the-shelf anti-fog spray, waxes or gels that are available to order online.


3.    Seal it up

Use double-sided sticky tape to ensure your mask fits snuggly across the bridge of your nose and check bones. This is not recommended for extended wear.


4.    A good fit

A well fitted mask will dramatically reduce the amount of air escaping. Masks with a mouldable frame can help you achieve a good fit.


If you’re wearing a home-made mask, try sewing a channel along the top edge of the mask and inserting a pipe cleaner (or similar) so you can shape the fit around your facial features.


5.    Double strap tying technique

A trick used by hospital surgeons is to tie the top straps of a surgical mask firmly below the ears before tying the bottom straps above the ears around the crown of the head. This forms a snug fit across your nose and checks and vents air from the side of the mask.[2]


6.    Breath in a downwards direction

As a temporary fix you can try breathing downwards so the air you breathe out flows away from your glasses.


Technique: Hold your upper lip over your lower lip. Then blow air downward, as if you’re playing a flute.


Remember – always fit your mask to your face, not to the frames of your glasses!


[1] According to a study published in The Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, a face mask directs much of the exhaled air upward.

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4474252/


Published 13 May 2020