Posted 3 years ago

Mask and Glasses Yellow

In many parts of the world, nearly two out of three people wear corrective eyewear. And ever since mask wearing has become mainstay, many of us have the same complaint: wearing a mask makes our glasses fog!

We get it - wearing a mask can be uncomfortable and frustrating, especially if you’re not used to it.

Why does wearing a mask make my glasses fog?

People who wear glasses already know that eyewear fogs when you walk out of a warm house into the cold outdoor air, or when you open an oven door. When we wear a mask, warm breath can escape through the top edges, along the tops of our cheeks. When the hot air lands on cooler lenses, it creates condensation on the surface and a foggy film. Cold weather makes the problem worse.

Having to keep on taking off your glasses to wipe them clear, and putting them back on again, is however an infection risk. So preventing or minimising fogging is the key. We’ve put together some tips and tricks to make wearing a mask a wee bit better.

How do I stop the fog?

 1. Rub-a-dub-dub

Clean your lenses - It might be that your lenses are prone to fogging if it’s been a while since they had a good clean. Wash your lenses using a small amount of lotion free soap diluted with a lot of water and dry them with a microfibre cloth or let them airdry. Soap reduces surface tension, preventing fog from sticking to the lenses.

After cleaning your lenses, give them an extra boost with an anti-fog lens wipe or spray. These are specifically designed to repel condensation from your lenses.

2. Size matters

Find your perfect fit. Rather than actually closing off the top of your glasses with extra material, you may find that simply wearing a better-fitting mask properly sends your breath downward, instead of upward, so that it doesn't affect your glasses.

One-size-fits-all really doesn't apply to masks. Whenever possible, choose masks that come in different sizes and do a little research to find the one best suited to your face. Masks that include mouldable foam or metal, allowing it to shape properly to your face, will also do wonders to get your lenses clear.

3. A tight fit

If your mask doesn’t fit your face well, warm air is likely to escape and fog up your lenses.

Medical masks have built-in, bendable metal strips that you can mould to the bridge of your nose.  When putting on your mask, make sure to pinch the top of the mask to fit the shape of your nose. If your mask allows it, adjust the ties or the ear loops so the mask fits snugly against your face. “If the air is going out the top, you don’t have your mask on correctly,” said Shan Soe-Lin, a lecturer at the Yale Jackson Institute for Global Affairs.

If you are making your own cloth mask, add a twist tie (for instance, a pipe cleaner) to the top seam of your homemade mask and mould that to your nose for the same effect.

Still struggling? Some health professionals apply a strip of tape that’s specially designed for use on skin to the top edge of the mask to close the gap. You can buy a roll online or at the pharmacy.

“This is something a lot of medical students learn early on when they’re using eye protection goggles,” said Dr. Andrew Janowski, instructor of paediatric infectious diseases at Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Don’t use nonporous household tapes like packing tape or duct tape, which could irritate skin. Taping is a lot of work for a short trip outside, but might be necessary if you’re caring for a sick person.

4. It’s not what you wear, it’s how

Sadly, there is no magic trick, such as putting the mask or glasses on first that will stop fogging. Improving the fit around the curve of the nose and cheeks is the best approach. Mask fitted perfectly, but still fogging up?

Try pulling your mask up over your nose and rest your glasses on top of it, using the weight of your glasses to block the air. This will stop the air from escaping and prevent fogging. If you try this, make sure your mask still fits properly over your face. Your nose and mouth should be completely covered. 

Mask up!

It may take a few attempts to get used to wearing a mask. But with a bit of trial and error, your glasses should remain fog-free, your ears comfortable and any anxiety about wearing a mask should reduce.

Wearing a mask in public is one of the things we can do to help keep ourselves and the community safe, alongside social distancing and hand hygiene.

Fortunately, the World Health Organisation and others say there is no evidence a face mask will cause either a drop in blood oxygen or an increase in blood carbon dioxide levels for normal everyday activities.

And the best news? Fogging will be less of a problem as summer approaches and outdoor temperatures get closer to the temperature of your breath.

Let's all stay safe, and mask up!

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