Does Your Face Mask Cause Glasses to Fog? Here’s How to Prevent Misty Lenses

Does Your Face Mask Cause Glasses to Fog? Here’s How to Prevent Misty Lenses

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Face masks have never been so important in our lives, which is also why they are extremely scarce. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also advises everyone to wear a face mask in public and we are all becoming accustomed to the idea of wearing masks when we leave our homes. At the same time, glass wearers have a hard time with this since their glasses usually fog up while wearing a mask. If you are a glass wearer, what can you do to prevent this? Well, we have the answer for you.

Fortunately, solutions exist to deal with this. But, before we begin, it’s important to understand why glasses fog up while wearing a face mask.

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Image: Anna Shvets

When you wear a mask, the hot, moist breath from inside the mask moves upward onto the lenses that are cold. The process is the same as what you experience when you wear glasses in cold weather and walk inside your warm house. The water vapor in your breath condenses on the lenses, and surface tension causes the droplets to remain on the glass. Even if your rigorously wipe them multiple times, they will fog up again and again and again. Luckily, there are three easy ways to deal with this problem.

1. Wash your lenses with soapy water.

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A 2011 study from the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, found that washing your glasses with soapy water “immediately” before wearing a face mask stops them from fogging up.

“Immediately before wearing a face mask, wash the spectacles with soapy water and shake off the excess. Then, let the spectacles air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on. Now the spectacle lenses should not mist up when the face mask is worn,” said the study.

According to researchers from the study, “The misting occurs from the warm water vapor content condensing on the cooler surface of the lens, and forming tiny droplets that scatter the light and reduce the ability of the lens to transmit contrast. The droplets form because of the inherent surface tension between the water molecules”.

When you wash your glasses with soapy water before wearing them, it “leaves behind a thin surfactant film that reduces this surface tension and causes the water molecules to spread out evenly into a transparent layer. This ‘surfactant effect’ is widely utilized to prevent misting of surfaces in many everyday situations”. It is important to note that this method would not last all day but will give you a good few hours before you will have to rewash them.

2. Another simple method is to fold down the top portion of your mask.

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According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, if the top of your mask fits loosely, simply fold down the top fourth of the mask before wearing it. The trick will only work on masks that do not contain a metal nose piece inside. The downside however, is that the trick will reduce the size of your mask. If you believe that this method greatly reduces the mask’s ability to work properly, you can always opt for the first method or try another one.

3. Attaching a folded tissue inside the top of your mask.

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Another trick you can use to reduce fog on glasses is to use a tissue. You simply fold a tissue into a thick rectangle and attach it to the inside of your mask, where it lies atop the bridge of your nose. This will help prevent the warm air from your mouth from reaching your lenses.

It is also important to note that whatever method you choose, masks are effective only when they’re used in combination with frequent and proper hand washing. It is also important to dispose of them properly once they are used.

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