If you wear glasses, adapting to face masks has come with a few extra challenges. Mask straps get tangled around glasses arms, you’re putting more pressure on your ears, and—perhaps most annoyingly—the mask can cause your lenses to fog up and restrict your vision.
Thankfully, there are easy ways to prevent your glasses from fogging up while you’re wearing a mask. Follow our tips and tricks below to keep your eyesight clear while your nose and mouth are covered.
What Causes Foggy Glasses?
Your glasses fog up while you’re wearing a mask due to condensation. In this case, the warm air of your breath travels upward through the gaps in your mask and hits the colder surface of your lenses. There, the moisture you’ve exhaled condenses into that bothersome fog.
Condensation is the term for water transforming from its gaseous to liquid form. (The fog on your glasses might not look like liquid water, but it’s made up of teeny-tiny droplets.) It occurs when water encounters a big temperature change.
You may have noticed the same effect when you enter a warm room after spending time in cold weather. Your glasses fog up automatically in the warmer air, and you have to either clean them or wait for the mistiness to subside.
How to Prevent Glasses from Fogging Up with a Mask
There are several ways to keep your glasses from fogging while you wear a mask. We recommend experimenting with all of the tips below, and seeing which ones work best for you.
Adjust Your Mask to Create a Strong Seal
Your glasses can’t fog up if you stop your breath from hitting the lenses entirely. The key? Creating a tight seal between your mask and your skin, so that your breath doesn’t sneak out through the top.
Here’s how to stop glasses from fogging up by getting that seal:
Pull your mask up higher on your nose so that it’s “tucked” under your glasses. If you “tuck in” the top of your mask under the bridge of your glasses, the weight of your glasses may prevent air from slipping out under the mask—especially if you have a pair of thick, statement frames. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your glasses from fogging up with a mask.
Tighten your mask by adjusting or knotting the straps. If your mask comes with adjustable ear loops, make sure they’re tight enough to ensure a good seal around your nose. For other masks, you can perform what the CDC calls the “knot and tuck” method, which involves tying knots in the straps on either side of your mask and tucking in extra material for a better fit.
Try a mask extender. A mask extender is a small strip of material worn at the back of your head or neck, with small hooks or knobs for securing the mask straps. Mask extenders can tighten or loosen masks, depending on how you use them, and they also give your ears a break from supporting the straps.
Use a nose wire or nose clip. The area around your upper cheeks and nose is where air escapes your mask to fog up your glasses. By molding the nose wire inside a mask to the bridge of your nose, you can stop the air from escaping your mask and keep your glasses from fogging up.
Not every mask includes a nose wire, however. If yours doesn’t, you can buy flexible nose bridge strips to install, or even DIY a nose wire by sewing a twist-tie or a pipe cleaner into the mask. Alternatively, you can buy nose clips that attach to the mask and prevent fogging.
Install nose bridge pads … or a tissue. Soft nose bridge pads stick to the inside of your mask and stop the airflow that causes your glasses to fog. They’re often made of foam or spongey material to help achieve that perfect seal.
Another, simpler hack is to fold a piece of tissue in half and set it inside your mask so that it lies across the bridge of your nose.
Secure your mask with tape. Tape is one surefire way to get a seal that sticks and stop glasses from fogging. Look for double-sided tape that’s safe for use on your skin, such as athletic or medical-grade tape. Apply a strip across the inside of your mask so that it’ll stick to the front and sides of your nose.
Get a mask fitter or brace. Mask fitters and braces look a little like fancy armor for your mask. They’re meant to increase the snugness of your mask’s fit and apply a good seal around all of its edges.
Find a mask that fits well. A good fit is the first step to a good seal. Look for masks that go high up over the nose and that fit the size of your face—some people with small faces can benefit by wearing masks in petite or children’s sizes. Pay attention to what feels uncomfortable or ill-fitting in different mask designs.
Tweak the Way You Wear Your Glasses
Your mask is only one part of the equation. Slightly altering the way you wear your glasses can also keep their lenses from fogging up.
However, we recommend seeing an optician if you want to make any adjustments to your glasses—it’s their job to make sure your eyewear fits well and functions the way it should.
Distance your glasses from your face. If your glasses have adjustable nose pads, your optician might be able to position them so that your glasses sit just a bit farther from your face. This method prevents fog by widening the small pocket between your lenses and your skin that traps hot air.
However, if you wear progressive lenses or any kind of multifocal lens, you may need to get used to looking through their different zones again, now that your glasses are in a slightly different place.
Get your glasses adjusted if they’re loose. Your glasses might not be tight enough to help hold your mask in place or stay comfortably situated on your face. If that’s the case, see an optician to get your glasses adjusted.
You can protect your lenses from fog with preventative measures that sit right on their surface.
Wash your lenses with soapy water. This study-backed trick merely requires you to wash your lenses with sudsy water and let them air dry. The soap creates a “thin surfactant film” on the lenses that may keep your glasses from fogging up. Results can vary depending on the soap you use, so this method isn’t always the most reliable.
Use anti-fog lens spray. Spritzing your lenses with anti-fog spray will keep them gloriously transparent while you’re wearing your mask. We recommend stashing a bottle or two in your bag so you’re always prepared.
If you’re tired of battling the fog, why not switch up the type of lenses you’re wearing? Trade out your glasses for contact lenses and let go of frustration when you don your mask.
Note: if you’ve never worn contact lenses before, you’ll need to get a contact lens exam and fitting from your eye doctor.
Advice to Avoid: Don’t Put These Substances on Your Glasses
Because foggy glasses are such a common problem, the internet is full of suggestions for solving it. But not all of these suggestions are safe for your lenses! Steer clear of the following “hacks”:
- Toothpaste. It can be harmfully abrasive to your lenses.
- Hand sanitizer. Although medical professionals might use it for their surgical goggles, the high alcohol content in hand sanitizer will likely prove damaging to regular prescription lenses.
- Vinegar. It’s highly acidic and can eat through protective coatings on your lenses.
- Baby shampoo. It’ll likely leave a film on your glasses that makes it even more difficult to see.
- Saliva. Please do not spit on your glasses in the hopes of keeping fog away. It won’t work, so…just don’t. (Ick.)
Enjoy a Clear View through Fog-Free Lenses
Foggy glasses can be intensely frustrating when you’re trying to read a menu, see a friend’s face, or simply walk through a room without running into a pole. But now that you know how to stop your glasses from fogging up with a mask, we hope you can sport your frames and your face-covering without annoyance.