The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing a face mask to slow the spread of the respiratory virus, COVID-19. Unfortunately, some people have complained that wearing a mask can cause their glasses to fog up. (Learn More)

Fortunately, there are several recommendations that can help you stop fog from spreading across your lenses while you also do your part to slow the spread of coronavirus. (Learn More) Face masks can help to protect you, but more than that, they prevent viral particles from spreading if everyone wears them.

There are inexpensive ways to fit your mask better and stop your glasses from fogging up. (Learn More) This can help you feel more confident wearing your mask.

Face Masks & Glasses: Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 While Seeing Clearly

State and federal health guidelines during the current outbreak of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus pandemic, recommend wearing a mask when you could potentially encounter other people.

While many people purchased disposable surgical face masks at the beginning of the outbreak in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends wearing a reusable, washable cloth face mask for most daily encounters. This helps to save necessary surgical or medical masks for hospitals that need them and still significantly prevents the spread of COVID-19.

Since COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory disease, it is primarily spread when someone comes in contact with infected air after someone with the virus coughs, sneezes, or even speaks. These droplets can stay in the air or travel about six feet, or two arms’ lengths, if the infected person does not cover their mouth and nose.

Wearing a face mask stops the majority of these droplets from escaping and traveling or getting on surfaces. This can drastically reduce the risk of spreading the disease to others.

As many Americans adopt wearing face masks in public, one of the most common complaints involves the masks redirecting the wearer’s breath and fogging up their glasses. Since these masks are a major component of public safety through the current outbreak of coronavirus, it is important to find ways to keep people wearing masks while allowing them to still see clearly.

 

Recommendations for Face Masks

The CDC’s general recommendations for correctly wearing your cloth face mask include:

  • Wash your hands before putting a mask on, as you will be touching your face.
  • Put the mask on over your nose and mouth first. Then, secure it under your chin.
  • Loop it around your ears or the back of your head, depending on how the mask should be tied. Ensure that it is securely covering your nose and mouth without any gaps.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily while wearing the mask.

 

Stop Your Glasses From Fogging Up

Much of the problems associated with these masks stems from them not fitting around the face very well.

When there are gaps at the top or on the sides, this can allow your breath to escape. While a poorly fitting mask is better than none at all, the gaps allow for more potential to spread COVID-19. The gaps can also cause your glasses to fog up, making it hard for you to see what you’re doing.

If you happen to have contact lenses, you may consider wearing those while wearing a face mask. However, many people prefer glasses to contact lenses, or they may be unable to wear contact lenses.

Here are some recommendations for preventing your glasses from fogging up as you wear a face mask:

  • Rub dish soap with water on your glasses. Take a drop of regular dish soap, not the type for sensitive skin or with lotion in it, and smear one small drop on each lens. Rub the drop into the glass with your fingers; then, rinse it off. This leaves behind a transparent layer of film that protects the lenses from temperature changes, like when your breath hits the glass.
  • Try shaving cream. Like dish soap, take a small amount of shaving cream and rub it on the lenses of your glasses. Wipe it off, and it will prevent moisture from collecting around areas of temperature change.
  • Buy special antifog protective coating. Your lenses may be treated with an antifog coating already since you can get this feature on your prescription lenses. If they are not, you can get a more permanent effect than dish soap or shaving cream with lens-cleaning towelettes that leave behind an antifogging protective coating.
  • Use a paper towel. If you do not want to put something on the lenses of your glasses, you can take a folded-up piece of paper towel, and place it between your mouth and the mask. This will absorb much of the warmth and moisture from your breath, preventing it from going through the top or even the sides of your face mask. This could also reduce the spread of coronavirus.
  • Adjust where your glasses sit. It is important for your glasses to sit properly on your nose, but you may be able to wear them just on top of the face mask. This can also indicate whether your glasses fit your face properly or not. If they are too tight or too loose, they will not sit lower on your nose very well and may fall off if they rest on top of your cloth mask.
  • Get a better seal. If your glasses fit your face well, your mask might still not create a good enough seal. You may consider getting a mask with some internal structure, like wires or additional padding around the outside edges, so you can conform it to your face and create a tighter seal. This will prevent your breath from rising and fogging up your glasses as much.

 

Seeing Well & Staying Safe

Wearing face masks in public during the COVID-19 pandemic can prevent you from inhaling some particles, but the masks really stop other people’s viral particles from entering the environment. In case you are an asymptomatic carrier, you should wear a mask when you leave home and potentially encounter other people. Masks work best when everyone wears them.

Once you master how to take care of your glasses so they don’t fog up when you wear a mask, you’ll feel confident to wear your mask regularly.

 

References

Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19. (May 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About Cloth Face Coverings. (May 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How to Wear a Face Mask Without Fogging Your Glasses. (May 2020). American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO).

How to Wear Cloth Face Coverings. (May 2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How to Prevent Glasses from Fogging Up While Wearing a Mask. (May 2020). National Public Radio (NPR).

How to Wear a Mask With Glasses. (May 2020). GQ.

How Should Glasses Rest on Your Face? FramesDirect.com.