Farewell, lens fog: The best face masks for people who wear glasses
Face masks are vital to keeping ourselves and our fellow humans safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re part of our daily lives now, so it’s advantageous to find options that are as protective, breathable, and comfortable as possible.
But for people who wear glasses, finding a good mask is really hard! A face mask that doesn’t fit snugly can lead to foggy lenses, making it difficult to see. Ear straps put pressure on your frames, prompting headaches. And (this is our biggest pet peeve) if your face mask isn’t secured tightly around the nose, your glasses can slide off your face when you look down. Not great.
Luckily, face masks’ sheer ubiquity means there are some really solid options for glasses wearers out there. We’ve included our picks below, but here are some general guidelines about what you should look for.
Why do my glasses fog up when I wear a mask?
You probably need your glasses to, you know, look at stuff. So it’s frustrating when wearing a face mask turns them into a foggy mess. What’s happening here is condensation: When your mask doesn’t lie flush with your face, your hot breath escapes and travels up onto your glasses. Basically, warm air hits a cooler surface.
Then, the air you’ve exhaled undergoes a phase change… into a view-obstructing liquid. Thanks a lot, science.
How can I stop my glasses from fogging up?
To solve the fog issues, you’ll need to keep air from escaping through the mask’s top. A tight seal will do a lot of this work, so consider a face mask with an adjustable metal nose wire along the top — it’ll help you mold the mask to your nose, creating a tight seal and protecting your glasses from foggy doom. (If you’re making your own mask with nose wire, we recommend sewing a pipe cleaner into the fabric.)
SEE ALSO: Where to buy face masks that kids will actually want to wear
Even if you’re not a glasses wearer, you want your mask to be as snug as possible. Why? The tighter the seal, the lower the chance that unwanted droplets will make their way inside (or outside).
In a slightly riskier move, you can also use soap to create a makeshift “barrier” that will slow the fogging process. Cleveland Clinic explains in their blog post on the subject:
With this technique, you simply wash your lenses with soapy water and shake off the excess liquid. You can allow your lenses to air dry or gently wipe them off with a soft cloth before wearing your glasses again. Why does this method work? The soap leaves behind a thin film that acts as a fog barrier.
Of course, if your glasses have a special lens coating of any kind, it’s best to check with your eye care provider before washing them with regular soap.
What about masks with valves?
Do not wear masks with valves. According to the CDC, they do not prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Sure, your glasses might be less foggy, but potentially harmful droplets will be able to exit through the valve, negating everything the mask is supposed to accomplish. Not worth it!
OK, but I’m having issues other than fogging.
Ugh! Well, you still need to wear a mask. It’s possible to remedy the situation, though.
If your mask’s ear loops push against your glasses and give you a headache (or sore ears): Consider a mask with straps or loops on the top and bottom, rather than the sides. If you don’t want to go the horizontal straps route, any mask with adjustable ear loops is worth a shot. We’ve included a few options below.
If your glasses slide down your mask and off your face: This may be an issue with your glasses — have you tightened the screws recently? If the problem persists, we’ve had success putting our mask on first, then hooking the temples of our glasses into the ear loops to create a secure hold. Sometimes our glasses end up a bit crooked, but it gets the job done.
No matter what, though, you’ll want a secure, safe face mask that allows you to see. It’s really not too much to ask! Here are our picks for the best face masks for glasses wearers.
Please note that none of these picks are medical-grade, and that you should continue to refer to the CDC for updated recommendations and information about COVID-19.