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Helping patients overcome the ‘foggy glasses’ dilemma

With face masks being encouraged in populated areas and mandatory for more than five million Victorians from midnight Wednesday, spectacle wearers are faced with an additional challenge.

Wearing a covering over the mouth forces warm breath to seep from the top of the mask causing the cooler spectacle lenses to fog, limiting visibility.

According to Specsavers in the UK, there has been a staggering 242% increase in online searches questioning how to tackle this problem.

As such, several lifestyle websites, including Optometry Australia’s Good vision for life, social media posts, and optical stores have addressed this dilemma by sharing creative hacks and tips.

1. Consider contact lenses

One piece of advice is, where possible, to wear contact lenses – ensuring patients follow strict hygiene measures, including washing their hands before and after putting in lenses, wearing disposable lenses if possible, and using proper ophthalmic products to clean reusable lenses.

Eyecare professionals have emphasised the importance of scrupulous hygiene for contact lens wearers during the pandemic.

2. Create a seal

If wearing contact lenses isn’t an option, the face mask needs to fit tightly around the nose and cheeks to reduce the amount of breath escaping and causing condensation on the lenses. The straps on the mask can also be adjusted for a more secure fit.

Experts recommend wearing the face mask high over the nose as is comfortably possible, allowing the wearer to rest their glasses over the mask to act as a seal.

“This will help secure the fit which will prevent the warm air from escaping through the top of the mask. If you try this, make sure your mask still fits properly over your face so your nose and mouth are completely covered,” OA advises.

Specsavers UK adds: “If this does not work, or your mask cannot be pulled this high, try using a small piece of surgical tape to secure the mask to the bridge of your nose. This helps form a seal to prevent your breath from escaping upwards.”

3. Use soapy water

Once the face mask in secured in place, it’s suggested the wearer should wash their spectacles with soapy water, shake off the excess, let them air dry or dry the lenses gently with a soft tissue before putting them on.

4. Stop the slipping

As well as misting up, face masks can cause glasses to slip down, but there are solutions for that dilemma too.

“Glasses constantly slipping down your nose can be a pain, so why not try wrapping the string of the mask around the sides of your glasses rather than your ear. This might help to make your glasses and mask more secure — just be careful when taking off your glasses as the mask will be attached,” Specsavers advises.

Face masks will be mandatory for people living in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire from 11.59pm Wednesday 22 July. This week, NSW Premier Ms Gladys Berejkilian said it would remain a “personal choice” in her state.

“Particularly in circumstances where you can’t social distance or if you are unwell and are seeking healthcare,” she said.

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