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4 Tips to Minimize Foggy Glasses with Face Masks
It used to be that foggy lenses were something we only experienced during the winter months. It was a common frustration for those wearing glasses coming indoors after being out in the cold. In the current COVID-19 pandemic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation of wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19, foggy glasses are more common than ever.
This is cannot only be a frustrating situation, but also a safety issue. This fogging of the lenses limits one’s vision. When we were simply coming in from the cold, this was a temporary problem...after a brief period of time the lenses would clear. With face masks, this is a constant problem with each breath. Imagine being a first responder and having to deal with foggy glasses in emergent situations.
First let’s discuss why your glasses are fogging up. Similar to moving from the cold outdoors to your warm house in the winter, warm water vapor is collecting in tiny droplets on your cooler lenses. These droplets collect on the lens due to the physics property of surface tension that exists between the water droplets.
Now that we know why our glasses fog up, what can we do to eliminate this phenomenon?
1. Wash lenses with soapy water
Wash your lenses with soapy water and then gently dry the lenses with a microfiber cloth. The soapy water will leave a thin film on the lenses. This lessens the surface tension that allows droplets to accumulate on the lens.
2. Make sure mask fits well and is sealed
A tight fitting mask minimizes the amount of air that flows toward your glasses with each breath. Placing double-sided tape between the bridge of your nose and the inside of the mask can limit the flow of air towards your lenses as well. Pipe cleaners can be incorporated in homemade masks to get a good fit around the contour of your nose.
3. Anti-fog lenses
When you purchase glasses, you can request that an anti-fog coating is applied to your lenses. This coating is applied in an optical lab prior to the lenses being cut to fit your frames. Examples of this coating include Opticote and Optifog. Talk to your optician when purchasing glasses about these options.
4. Vision correction alternatives such as LASIK or refractive lens exchange
Another way to deal with fogging lenses is to eliminate the wearing of glasses by correcting your vision in another manner. LASIK and other vision correction procedures are a great option for individuals to decrease their need for glasses and contact lenses. With modern technology and treatments, most people over the age of 18 are a candidate for vision correction surgery. Depending on the level of correction and results of one’s evaluation with an eye doctor the ideal procedure may vary from a laser procedure like LASIK or PRK to RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange).