Woman wearing face mask and glasses

Face Masks Fogging Up Your Eyeglasses? Here’s What To Do…

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many state governments are now requiring the use of face masks when in public spaces like grocery stores, restaurants, or public transportation.

A common problem for eyeglass wearers when using a face mask is their lenses misting up. According to the Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, fogging occurs due to the warm water vapor rising from the edge of the mask and condensing on the cooler surface of the lens. You can combat the fog by washing your eyeglasses with soapy water right before you need to put the mask on. Allow the lenses to air dry or use a microfiber cloth (if you have one) to dry them.

How does it work?

The thin surfactant film left behind by the soap will force the warm water vapor from your breath to spread out evenly into a transparent, non-foggy layer on the lenses, so your eyeglasses should stay clear at least for some time. If you have to wear a mask and eyeglasses for long periods of time you may have to repeat this every few hours to ensure your lenses remain fog-free.

You can also reduce the chance of fogging by ensuring your mask conforms to the top part of your face. If your mask has a metal band or nose clip at the top, you can use that to mold it to your face and reduce the amount of warm water vapor escaping from the top of the mask. For those people who are using homemade masks, pipe cleaners, or paperclips can be used to create a similar effect. Sew one of these into the top rim of the mask and use your fingers to press and mold it to conform to your nose and cheeks.

Don’t have a mask on hand? Make one!

The CDC has a page on how to make your own face mask, with options for sewing with loose cloth or a quick rendition with an old t-shirt. The CDC recommends that homemade face masks should:

  • Allow you to breathe without restriction
  • Have multiple layers of fabric
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Fit snugly and comfortably against the sides of the face
  • Be able to be washed withoutlosing shape and/or getting damaged

Read about the three different ways you can create your own face mask here.

1. Sheraz Shafi Malik and Shahbaz Shafi Malik. “A simple method to prevent spectacle lenses misting up on wearing a face mask.” Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, Mar. 2011.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3293317/) Last accessed 4/13/2020
2. N.A. “Use These Tips to Prevent Your Glasses From Fogging up When Wearing a Face Mask.” MSN, Mar. 8, 2020. (https://www.msn.com/en-us/video/popculture/use-these-tips-to-prevent-your-glasses-from-fogging-up-when-wearing-a-face-mask/vp-BB12kx9q) Last accessed 4/13/2020