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How to stop your glasses steaming up when you wear a mask

8 top tips for wearing glasses with a face mask

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Since the lockdown declared by Boris Johnson on March 23rd, many lives were affected by the Global COVID-19 Pandemic (2020). As widely documented, the outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30th and significantly disrupted the NHS, businesses and everyday life. The UK introduced severe social-distancing measures, accompanied by closure of all non-essential businesses.

Now, from the July 4th, the UK has eased on the social distancing measures but wearing a mask is essential along with keeping at least 1 metre distance from others that are not from the same household. But if you’re a glasses wearer like me, wearing a mask can be annoying, to say the least. However, for the sake of public health and preventative measure to stop the spread or contraction of the disease, we need to wear a mask during all public excursions. 

Why do my glasses fog up?

When you wear a mask, it directs the air you exhale upwards. This exhaled air gets into contact with the spectacle lens. The exhaled air contains warm water vapour which condenses upon contact with the cooler lens surface forming tiny droplets. The droplets then interfere with how the light passes through the lens, reducing our ability to see clearly. 

Top tips to stop your glasses misting up

Here are some tips to help stop your glasses from steaming up:

1. Wash the mask with soapy water:

Surgeons have to wear surgical masks during every surgery. A study conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons to prevent the misting of spectacle lenses on wearing a mask found that “washing the spectacles with soapy water 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 utilised to prevent misting of surfaces in many everyday situations.” 
Directions: Right before putting on the face mask, wash the spectacles with soapy water and shake off the excess, allowing the lens to air dry before putting them back on. Make sure to use soap without lotion in it and use lukewarm, not warm water to ensure not damaging the lens. 

2. Better fit:

Learn how to get a good mask fit on your nose and cheeks. Finding that perfect fit might take a little while, so experiment with your mask before you start wearing them regularly. We all have different face structures, but you should aim for a close wit around your cheekbones and nose.

3. Buy a mask with a nose wire:

Masks with a nose wire, allow you to improve the fit of your mask so that it fits snugly across your cheekbones and nose. This will help to prevent the warm, moist exhaled air from escaping upwards and coming into contact with your lenses.

4. Anti-fog spray:

You can purchase anti-fog spray online. The spray does precisely as its name indicates. It helps stop your glasses from fogging up. But you should be warned that some people have found that it can cause eye irritation. 

5. Wear the glasses outside the mask:

If you put your mask on while wearing your glasses, you may find that the bottom of your frames are tucked under the mask. This increases the chances that the air will be directed up towards your glasses. So tucking the mask under your frames and making sure that your glasses sit on top of your mask will help to prevent the condensation occurring. 

6. Use a tissue:

Get a tissue and fold it into a thin strip. Then tape the strip to the top edge of the mask. The tissue will absorb the moisture from the exhaled air before it has a chance to come into contact with the lens. 

7. Try masks with a tie:

Most masks have ear loops that are used to secure the mask to your face. However, you can buy masks which have long ties at the top and bottom of the mask. This allows you to knot the mask behind your head. Having the two sets of straps also makes it easier to adjust the fit of your mask and where it sits on your face. A snug fit reduces the chances of your glasses steaming up when you wear a face mask.

8. Use tape:

Another solution is to try using medical or sports tape to secure the top of the mask to the skin of your nose and cheeks. This creates a barrier that stops the warm, moist, exhaled air from escaping through the top of the mask onto your glasses. 

 

Wearing glasses with a face mask can be a real pain. Whether you need to wear glasses to see, protective goggles or sunglasses, I hope the tips above will help you overcome this challenge we face. 
 

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