Glasses fogging up when wearing a mask

Monday 18 May 2020 by Vision Direct

Woman wearing mask with fogged up glasses

Wearing a protective face mask is one of the many lifestyle changes we've had to make during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. A few months ago anyone wearing a mask in public would have drawn baffled stares (unless they were suffering from hay fever) - but these days, surgical face masks have become an unremarkable sight in shops and streets.

Between countries like Spain, France and the Netherlands already announcing masks becoming a mandatory preventative measure, and research proving a correlation between wearing masks in public and flattening the curve: it looks like protective face masks are here to stay. But those wearing glasses have learned the hard way that masks fog up their glasses every time they breathe out. It might seem like a minor issue compared to other disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, but it's one that is within our means to fix. And the solution is simple, hygienic and effective: swap your glasses for contact lenses. Lenses fit your eyes comfortably and securely, giving you better clarity and seamless peripheral vision. They are fuss-free and simple, as they don't require any touch-ups throughout the day, giving you all the freedom of movement you need.

Why do my glasses fog up when I wear a face mask?

Woman wearing mask buying on phone

Here's how it happens: every time you breathe, your warm exhaled air looks for a quick way out - and your face mask directs it upward, onto the cool surface of your lenses. You know how much your glasses love steam: just think about how foggy they get when you've taken a hot lasagna out of the oven, or come inside after being out in the cold.

The water vapour in your breath creates condensation on the glasses, causing them to fog up, affecting your vision. Wiping them down won't work, thanks to surface tension causing the droplets to want to stay on the cool glass surface even more - and tightening the fit of your mask will only make it uncomfortable. Steam only needs the smallest gap to find its way out. Some suggest putting a tissue on the top of your mask will help shield condensation inside, though that will probably need a lot of fiddling throughout the day, defeating the purpose of avoiding touching your face.

Mythbusting: do tricks to prevent glasses fogging up work?

Some say that washing your glasses with soapy water, baby shampoo, or shaving cream will keep them from fogging. But there's no scientific evidence that this will be a viable solution. While this might be effective for a few minutes, most glasses have coatings, making them resistant to treatments and dust. This means that anything you wash them with will either slide off within minutes, or end up damaging the protective coating of your glasses. The chances that the pricey anti-fog glass sprays you see online working are quite slim too. So why end up damaging your glasses, or spending ages washing them every few minutes to no avail, when you could just switch to contact lenses?

Get clear vision with daily contact lenses

Daily disposable contact lens packs

Daily contact lenses are easy to use and throw away; no need to worry about storing them overnight or rinsing them in solution. As convenient as they are hygienic, contact lenses give you all the freedom of movement to do the things you love, uninterrupted. From your daily exercise to baking, home DIY, activities with the kids and everything in between: gone are the days you had to stop what you're doing to readjust or wipe down your glasses. And above all, they work perfectly with your protective face mask: you just apply them, put your mask on and go about your day with better clarity and seamless peripheral vision too.

If you've never worn contacts before, speak to your optician about what kind would suit your eye care needs best. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to our friendly, UK-based optical experts, who are on-call 24/7! Find them on live chat, reach them by phone on 01 513 4141, or email on help@visiondirect.ie.

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