It may not seem like a significant problem, but correcting it is more important than some may think.
In the US alone, over 150 million people use corrective eyewear.
That’s roughly 45% of the country’s entire population! So it goes without saying that there are many spectacled people in healthcare who experience problems when they wear protective masks on the job — namely, that wearing a mask can sometimes make your glasses fog up.
This isn’t new news — plenty of health workers have had to find a way around this common issue. In light of the current pandemic, even those who don’t work in healthcare are now experiencing this annoying occurrence. So how can you solve this issue when removing your mask just isn’t an option? Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions. We’ve compiled a list of great tips and tricks for preventing your glasses from fogging up when you’re wearing a mask.
Molding Your Mask
Your glasses can sometimes fog up when there is an immediate temperature change, like when you walk into a warm room after being outside in the cold. When you wear a mask, the hot air you breathe out escapes out of the sides, and along the top. As the hot air hits your lenses, condensation can collect, causing a layer of fog that limits your vision.
Of course, this is not ideal when you’re working on the field — your vision is a crucial part of doing your job to the best of your ability. But fogged glasses are also a sign that your mask is not properly fitted, and could leave you more vulnerable to infection.
For your mask to actually reduce your likelihood of infection, you’ll need to make sure the top is sealed properly. You can do this by molding your protective mask. Medical-grade protective masks typically have built-in wire strips that you can bend around your nose bridge. In most cases, adjusting this molding piece does the trick. Unfortunately, “one size fits all’ doesn’t always apply to everyone.
If you are still experiencing issues with fit, try adding more support by supplementing your mask with more wireframing. In a pinch, a pipe cleaner will do.
In some cases, fog on your glasses is a sign that your mask isn’t tight enough.
Of course, no one likes to feel uncomfortable, especially if they have to keep their mask on for a prolonged period of time. However, proper use dictates that your mask should fit tightly against your face.
A proper medical mask will allow clean air to go through it, so keeping it tight shouldn’t affect your breathing. If you feel air coming out of the top, bottom, or either side of your mask, it’s time to tighten your fasteners.
Wearing your mask shouldn’t be painful, but it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not a fashion accessory — it’s a necessary tool that could make all the difference in keeping you, your colleagues, and your loved ones healthy.
Did you make the necessary adjustments but are still getting fogged up on the job? Tape up!
A common trick that many doctors and medical students use is the use of medical or athletic tape. You can use skin-safe tape to seal the top of your mask to prevent air from escaping upward into your glasses or protective goggles.
Alternatively, you can try using double-sided tape on the inside of your mask, though again, it’s important to research whether the tape you're using is skin-friendly or not. Taping your mask to your face may feel odd, but you’ll thank yourself later when you’re able to see your patients and equipment clearly!
Pull Your Mask Under Your Glasses
This tip will depend greatly on the fit of your medical mask.
Some practitioners pull their masks up slightly so that the weight of their glasses keeps their masks sealed. Many who use this technique also claim it to be a more comfortable option than some of the others on this list. If you do choose this strategy, however, you must still be able to wear your mask under your chin.
If your mask is too small or specially molded for your face, moving it up may open up an unwanted opening at the bottom of your mask. Additionally, your eyewear will play a role in whether this works or is comfortable. Those with heavier glasses will benefit more than those who wear light frames.
Treat Your Glass Lenses
If this fogging issue persists, it might be a good idea to coat your lenses so that they become fog-proof.
Your optometrist or corrective lens provider may have coating options like sprays and wipes, but you can also try a few home remedies for a faster solution.
A 2011 study on fogged eyewear gave evidence that washing your glass lenses with soap and water and leaving them to air dry prevents them from fogging when wearing a face mask.
Contact lenses are an effective option that eliminates the problem altogether. If you’re someone who can comfortably wear contacts, they could be an asset while you’re at work.
Just keep in mind that when you’re dealing with infected patients, you should still wear eye protection. Safety glasses may cause the same fogging issue, but you can prevent fog by sticking to closed lab goggles instead.
If you’ve never worn contacts before, adjusting to them could take time.
In this case, practice wearing them for a few days at a time while you’re at home before you wear them to work. Alternatively, you can always wear contact lenses to work and switch to your glasses if your lenses begin to feel uncomfortable.
As the weather gets warmer and we begin to welcome the summer months, fogging won’t be an issue anymore. But until then, you now have the tools you need to work with clear vision, courtesy of the ProMed team!