Spectacle wearers have always noticed that their glasses steam up after opening the oven door, having a warm drink or going from a cooler to a warmer environment. But this is a relatively short-lived inconvenience. However many of us are experiencing longer-term problems because face masks are widely recommended, and indeed mandatory in so many situations now. So how can we stop glasses fogging when wearing a mask or face covering?
Glasses fog up when wearing a face mask because most of the breath escapes from the top of the mask. When we exhale, warm breath comes into contact with cool(er) spectacle lenses. The droplets of moisture in the breath condense onto the lens and cause fog.
How to stop glasses fogging when wearing a mask
1. Make sure the mask fits properly
A snug-fitting mask has two benefits. It helps protect against airborne particles and it limits the breath from escaping and condensing on the spectacle lenses. It should be snug against the nose and cheeks to minimise any gaps through which the breath can escape.
2. Warm the glasses up
Warm spectacle lenses up before putting them on, eg run them under warm water. This reduces the difference in temperature between the exhaled breath and the spectacle lenses.
3. Have a cold drink
This works on the same principle as warming the glasses. A cold drink cools the breath which reduces the temperature difference between exhaled breath and spectacle lens.
These three tips do help, but the effects are temporary. No matter how well-fitting a mask is, some breath still escapes. And even the warmest of spectacles cool down and the coolest of breath soon warms up. The only real solution, (apart from moving to a hot country), is to…
4. Get Optifog spectacle lenses
We use Essilor lenses in the practice I work in. Their Optifog lens offers a solution to glasses steaming up, no matter what the cause. It is suitable for everyone, not just those who wear masks or PPE. Think of how many hot drinks we spectacle wearers consume, how many times we open the oven or dishwasher door and how frustrating it is when we have to remove our glasses when we walk into a shop/restaurant/pub/bathroom.
Optifog: Essilor’s anti-fog lenses
Optifog lenses use a unique anti-fog system which combines two patented technologies: a lens treatment and a smart cloth They have unique hydrophilic top layers with inherent fog repellent properties. The top layers are activated by the specific molecules of the smart cloth which also cleans the lenses at the same time. Droplets of moisture from breath or the environment spread out uniformly across the lens instead of causing fog.
Does the Essilor Optifog really stop glasses fogging?
Before I recommend something to a patient, I try, when possible, to try for myself, so I asked Essilor if I could try some Optifog lenses. I wear Essilor X4D varifocal lenses so had a pair made up with the Optifog coating for one of my favourite Stepper frames. (Essilor X4D varifocals are excellent by the way. Read my review of them here).
I’ll be honest and say that I wondered if the Optifog lens and its smart cloth might be a bit of a gimmick, but I was open-minded. First, I tried them with a mask on and breathed normally. No fogging. Then I opened the oven door. No fogging. Not a single bit. I even tried them when the dishwasher had just finished. Steam from a dishwasher is very different to the dry heat of an oven and I wanted to see if the lenses would still remain fog-free. They did.
I was genuinely surprised by how good they are. In fact, they’re brilliant. Therefore, I have no hesitation in recommending them to everyone whose glasses steam up when wearing a mask, drinking a hot drink, or going from cooler to warmer environments. And for the same price as a standard lens coating, you can’t go wrong.
Other benefits of the Essilor Optifog lens
- Scratch-resistant: Clear vision, guaranteed for 2 years.
- UV Protection: Protects the eyes from UVA and UVB rays.
- Glare-reduction: Fewer reflections for clarity of vision and improved aesthetics.
- Dust-repellant: Easier to clean.
How to use Essilor Optifog lenses
- Every day: Clean the Optifog lenses using the smart cloth, that comes with the lenses.
- Every 2 weeks: Wash the lenses with water. (I recommended washing all spectacles every time they get dirty or if they have potentially been exposed to infected agents. Soap and warm water is best).
- Every 3 months (or after 450 activations): Replace the smart cloth via your optician.
The Optifog coating is available in clear Varilux X Series, Varilux E Series, Eyezen and single vision lenses and costs the same as Essilor’s other coatings. Search Essilor’s Optician Finder to locate your nearest Essilor stockist.
“How To Stop Glasses Fogging” is sponsored by Essilor. My opinions are 100% honest and all content is my own.