Article shared from NBC News
Ophthalmologists and eye surgeons explain why your glasses fog up when you wear a mask and recommend ways to help you avoid the irritating phenomenon.
Aug. 4, 2021, 1:45 PM PDTBy Morgan Greenwald, Shop TODAY
Thanks to my glasses, I still struggle with face masks more than a year into wearing them regularly. Since I have a condition that prevents me from using contacts, I have no choice but to wear my glasses every day — and when paired with a face mask, they almost always end up fogging up and eventually impairing my vision (which is, ironically, worsening the condition my glasses are designed to help with). However, though this issue has been plaguing me for months on end, I’ve failed to do anything about it — partially because I’m lazy, and partially because I’m not sure what I can even do. Now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending indoor mask use once again for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in areas with high transmission rates, I decided it was probably time to figure out my foggy glasses problem instead of continuing to ignore it. We spoke to ophthalmologists and eye surgeons to learn more about why our glasses fog up when we wear face masks and rounded up products based on their advice on shopping for face masks and face mask accessories that eliminate the fogging issue.
Simply put, our glasses have a proclivity for fogging up when we wear masks because of our warm, humid breath. “The humid air goes up and has no place to circulate so it stays within the space enclosed by the glasses,” explained Yuna Rapoport, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist and founder of Manhattan Eye. During workout sessions when there is extra humidity in the air, this problem is even more pronounced, she said.
Masks that don’t fit properly make fogging conditions especially bad, explained Ron Pelton, MD, PhD, an oculofacial plastic surgeon who focuses on the surgery around the eyes and face. “Most of us don’t like wearing a mask and we wear them fairly loosely. This allows your breath and its moisture to be directed upwards toward your glasses,” said Pelton, the current president of the Colorado Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. “The moisture condenses and accumulates on the glass just like the steam from the shower does on your mirror.” Pelton also noted that glasses tend to fog more frequently in the colder months, when the temperature of your lenses is much cooler than your warm breath.
The experts we spoke to noted that the material the mask is made of has no bearing on its anti-fogging abilities. “The idea behind all of this is how to best create a seal to prevent humid air from going up underneath the glasses,” Rapoport said. All of the doctors did note, however, that regardless of which face mask you choose to wear, it’s important to make sure that you are paying attention to the CDC’s face mask recommendations.