As areas of the country make plans to reopen, wearing a face mask could become the new normal. The Centers for Disease Control recommended last week that all Americans wear a cloth face mask in public. And other states and cities have gone further. New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Los Angeles County all require residents to wear masks in public spaces and inside businesses.
But following local and CDC guidelines is nearly impossible when you also wear glasses, which can fog up and prevent you from seeing the very moment you walk outside. According to an 2011 article published in the Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, wearing a mask directs your warm exhaled air upwards, which then condenses on the cooler surface of the lens, forming “tiny droplets that scatter the light and reduce the ability of the lens to transmit contrast.”
Here are some ways you can prevent glasses fog:
- Put a tissue inside the top of the mask: If you fold a tissue horizontally and put it between your face and the top of your mask—so it sits over the bridge of your nose— the moisture from your breath will be absorbed by the tissue instead of hitting your glasses lenses.
- Buy a mask that molds to your nose: Masks that have a flexible wire allow you to mold it around the bridge of your nose, blocking the warm exhaled air from your mouth. Los Angeles Apparel sells such “flexible” masks.
- Wash your glasses with soapy water: According to The Royal College of Surgeons of England article, washing your glasses with soapy water leaves behind a thin film that reduces surface tension and causes the water molecules to spread out evenly into a transparent layer, thus de-fogging your glasses.
If you’re still looking for a cloth mask, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams suggests using an old t-shirt and two rubber bands.
I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. I’ve previously reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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