Covid, masks and glasses

Preventing our glasses from fogging up is often mission impossible, especially when we go through a very cold place.

Those of us who use masks in the operating room have always known about the difficulties they cause when it comes to maintaining good vision. The mask is a very important protection element, but at the time it represents a difficulty for the exhaled air to escape from the airway, rich in CO2 and water vapor.

Preventing our glasses from fogging up is often mission impossible, especially when we go through a very cold place (something common these days). As during the pandemic we recommend wearing contact lenses on the fewest occasions possible, especially in sectors with more contact with potentially infected people, we cannot resort to this alternative.

Among the different alternatives to reduce fogging of the eyeglasses, we may include the following:

  1. One of the most common solutions that we see when we go down the street is that people who wear glasses often wear the mask below their nose. Okay, we avoid the problem, but let’s say that the mask loses its protective effect for us and, of course, for everyone we meet on the street. Therefore, this option is not recommended at all. The same would apply to exhalation valve masks, which leave everyone unprotected except the wearer, and which are prohibited in many places.
  1. Use surgical masks if we plan to go outside and in places with little volume of people. Okay, the degree of protection is lower than a FFP2 or FFP3 mask, but the ease of exhaled air out is greater, since it is a thinner fabric, and less amount of vapor will go towards the goggle.
  1. Do not put on and take off the mask in cold environments. If the temperature of the glasses, and especially of the lenses, drops a lot (and it will drop more if we carry it in the hand than if we wear it), the lenses fog up very quickly when we put it back on. If we have to put the mask in a cold place, first we can warm it up by putting it in our pocket for a few minutes.
  1. Wear the glasses well adapted to our facial structure (base of the nose) with the metal band that all masks wear. We must ensure that if there is any air leakage, it is from the sides or below, not from above.
  1. Wear glasses of a smaller size, with metal or open frames, which favour the circulation of exhaled air.
  1. Commercial anti-fog elements (chamois, sprays, …) can be used, although with relatively little success.
  1. Use hand soap (the classic bar). It is passed over the lenses, and with a chamois it is subsequently cleaned to distribute it over the entire surface of the lens. If we leave a very thin layer can prevent condensation forms, although it is difficult to find the balance between too little, I’d like fogging or too, which would make the spectacle was already tarnished and we will not stop to see.
  1. Add to the upper part of the mask a strip of tape that makes a seal and prevents air from accessing our eyes. From the point of view of effectiveness, it is the one that gives the best result, although it cannot be done every day or for many hours, since even if a good quality hypoallergenic tape is used, the skin will end up suffering the consequences in the form of eczema.
  1. You can also find anti-fog devices made of soft plastic material, which are placed between the nose and the mask, creating an additional barrier to the passage of air upwards. I cannot tell you about its usefulness, since I am precisely waiting for a well-known home for sale to send it to me one of these days.