Homemade face masks are becoming the norm as the coronavirus epidemic continues to ravage the United States, with some states — namely New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and beyond — now requiring them in public.
But if you are a glasses wearer, you may have noticed that wearing a face mask can cause your lenses to fog. So what can you do to prevent this?
Thankfully, there appears to be a simple solution. In a 2011 study from the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, researchers advised washing the glasses with soapy water “immediately” before wearing a face mask.
After shaking off any excess water, “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,” they wrote.
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Wondering why this works? The researchers explained this as well. When wearing face masks, air exhaled from your mouth moves upward and comes into contact with the lenses, ultimately causing them to fog.
Washing the glasses with soapy water before wearing them, they said, “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.”
There are other methods to help your glasses from fogging. For instance, placing a tissue under the top of your face mask can help absorb some of the droplets, leading to clear lenses. Wearing a mask that can form to the bridge of your nose — one with wire, for instance — can help prevent the warm air from your mouth from reaching your lenses, ultimately fogging them.