Heading to a supermarket or other essential service while wearing a mask and glasses, but can’t stop them from fogging up? Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
The original version of this post was published in August 2020.
Today, Jacinda Ardern announced that from midnight tonight, all New Zealanders will be required to wear a mask when entering essential services like supermarkets, pharmacies, dairies and service stations. But what if, like director general of health Ashley Bloomfield, you happen to have a pair of glasses slapped on above that mask, glasses that you require to see? (Or if, like your author, you like to wear sunglasses three times the size of your face whenever you leave the house?)
If you’re a regular glasses wearer, you’re probably used to your glasses fogging up every now and then. But put on a mask, and “every now and then” turns into “all the dang time”. We joke, but this can be more than just a persistent annoyance: If you keep touching your face and your glasses to wipe them, there’s a good chance that you’re also decreasing the effectiveness of your mask.
So, I’ve assembled some tips on how to stop your glasses from fogging up when you wear a mask (and please, for the love of level one, wear a mask).
Make sure your mask actually fits
This is the big one. A mask that is properly fitted to your face and fastened snugly will force air out through the bottom or the side of the mask, rather than up into your precious, sight-granting, glasses. The looser the mask, the foggier the glass.
Some masks come with mouldable nose strips to do this for you, but if you’ve got a standard issue, disposable mask (or some other face covering), you might need to try something else.
This also serves as a great test for if your mask is properly secured – if your glasses are fogging up, chances are your mask is not doing its Covid-preventing job to the best of its ability.
Tape it down
If you want to go a bit hardcore on your mask, you can also just tape the top of it to your nose and face (with say, micropore tape). A twist tie or pipe cleaner securing your mask to the top of your nose will also do the trick.
If you’ve got nosepads, use ‘em
If your glasses happen to have nosepads, use them to secure your glasses to your mask as well as your nose.
Tuck a tissue under your mask
What it says on the tin: Tuck a tissue under the nose strip of your mask to fill up any gaps, if it’s not fitting quite right. It might not be super comfortable, but it’s more comfortable than walking into walls.
Wear your glasses a bit further away from your face
If air is still escaping out of the top of your mask, then wear your glasses a little bit further away from your face. This means your mouth-air will blow straight up into the sky, and you will still be able to see.
Try some anti-fog lens coating
If you want a long-lasting solution that works regardless of your mask, then it might be worth investing in some anti-fog lens coating. It’ll last longer, and it means that you won’t have to make sure your mask and glasses are put on just so. These coatings can come in the form of a wipe or a spray, and can be purchased from a range of online outlets.
Make sure your glasses are properly secured
Maybe the problem isn’t the mask, it’s the glasses. Check the screws on your glass-arms (technical term) and make sure they’re super tight.
Good old fashioned soap and water
Just wash your glasses, dry them appropriately (with a microfibre cloth, for example) and voila! You’ve got less fog on your glasses because fog doesn’t like to stick to soap, according to science. Shaving foam and dishwashing liquid will also do the trick, but be careful not to damage your lenses.
Tie a knot in it
I can’t claim credit for this one. This hack comes from Dr. Olivia Cui, who made a TikTok earlier this year showing how to make your face mask a little bit more protective (which has the bonus of stopping your glasses from fogging up):
Fork out for laser eye surgery
This is one of the stranger, funnier bits of advice I found while scouring the internet, so I thought I’d include it. If you want to go a bit extra, spend thousands of dollars to get some lasers fired at your eyes (by a licensed medical professional) and voila! No more glasses, no more fog.
Read our explainer on buying and making your own face masks here.