Masks are now part of daily life. But for people with glasses, mask wearing brings an additional challenge: foggy lenses. Here are some tips for clearer sightlines.
By Paul Russell, Lumino Health and our very own lead Optometrist, Dr. Cassandra Chung
Your cupboards are bare, so you head to the grocery store. With the COVID-19 pandemic still present, you “mask up” and enter. Two breaths later, you can barely see the produce aisle. Foggy glasses again.
You want to do your part for safety by wearing a mask. But this is more than an inconvenience – you need your glasses to see properly.
We consulted Dr. Cassandra Chung, optometrist and owner at Kodak Lens Vision Centres Canada. She says there are a few ways to reduce or eliminate the foggy glasses problem.
Fogging with a mask occurs for the same reason glasses fog up when you enter a warm building on a cold day.
“When a cold surface meets warm air, condensation can occur,” says Chung. “With a mask, it’s your breath that’s supplying the warm air. And there are two options. Either treat the lens to reduce condensation or reduce the amount of breath that reaches the lens.”
For treating the lens, one homemade solution is applying a little dish soap to your glasses.
“Just use regular dish soap,” say Chung. “Rub a little on with a soft cloth and wipe away any excess. Your glasses are clear so you can see, but there’s a thin film that remains that limits fogging up.”
Chung says there are also anti-fog products that you can get from an optometrist or other optical retailers.
“These products existed pre-pandemic – people used them mostly for playing sports,” says Chung. “Their glasses or visors would fog as their body heated up. Now, masks are creating the same problem. The anti-fog products are good, but they’ll last eight hours at most, so you need to keep reapplying them.”
Some manufacturers have created lenses that have anti-fog treatments built into them. Chung warns that there is always wear and tear on glasses over time, and this could affect the treatment. An optometrist can help you weigh your options and find the right solution.
Another solution is Kodak Lens Vision Centre’s new anti-fog cloth. Rubbing your lens with this cloth will make the lens fog free for up to 8 hours or more. It can be reused up to 200 times! Click Here to learn more.
The other option for fighting fog is to fit your mask so that little breath reaches your lenses. Most surgical masks have a wire that can form fit to your nose. These are often more effective than looser cloth masks in preventing the upward flow of air.
“The stronger the wire, the better your protection,” says Chung. “And some people add an extra barrier by folding up a tissue and putting it up against the wire. Or they seal the mask using a sensitive skin medical tape. These can all be effective fog prevention steps.”
Some medical masks also have a thin layer of foam built in. This helps create a better seal and protect against fogging.
Chung says that optometrists are the primary care provider for your eyes. And comfort is a big part of that. So, don’t hesitate to reach out to them for solutions, whether it’s for foggy lenses or other vision issues.
“There may be options you haven’t considered,” says Chung. “For example, I’ve helped many clients make the switch from glasses to contact lenses. For essential workers who wear a mask all day, this eliminates the fog issue entirely. And some people are candidates for contact lenses and don’t even know it. It’s worth a conversation if you currently wear glasses.”
Written in consultation with Dr. Cassandra Chung, optometrist and owner at Kodak Lens Vision Centres Canada.