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How to Wear a Mask With Glasses — And Not Get All Fogged Up

Never fear! Theater geeks and the Tokyo Police have your back

Glasses might be cool nowadays, but everyone who requires them to see knows that as stylish as they might be, they can still feel dorky as fuck. They’re always falling down your nose, covered in fingerprints or, most dorkishly, fogging up in steamy environments.

Usually, this experience was reserved for people stepping out of air-conditioned homes and cars in Florida, or entering a sauna, but right now, we’re all creating mini-saunas on our faces, thanks to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that we cover our nose and mouth whenever we’re out in public — whether via scarf, bandana, Survivor-style Buff, legit surgical mask or underwear.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though! Plenty of doctors and other medical professionals wear glasses, and clearly they aren’t fogged up all the time, or they probably wouldn’t be able to do their jobs. So how do they do it? 

For surgical masks, the Tokyo Police Department and a few others on the World Wide Web have shared some advice. Apparently, folding the top of the mask inward prevents your warm, misty breath from reaching your cold glasses, which is what causes them to fog up in the first place. You know, basic science stuff. But since this makes the mask smaller (and therefore less protective) you might be better off with their other technique: Instead of folding the mask, you could fold up a tissue and place it inside the mask. The tissue will absorb the moisture. Ta-da! 

If you’re wearing a bandana or other form of DIY-mask, the tissue technique could work here, too. But if it doesn’t, or for some reason you don’t have any tissues, there’s yet another choice. In an article published in the Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England, doctors recommend a technique allegedly used by people in theater who have to wear masks of the costume variety: “Immediately before wearing a face mask, wash the spectacles with soapy water and shake off the excess. Then, let the spectacles air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue before putting them back on. Now the spectacle lenses should not mist up when the face mask is worn.”  

This works because the soapy water leaves behind a tiny film on the lenses, reducing the surface tension that would otherwise cause little drops of water to form. Without that surface tension, the moisture from your breath spreads evenly across the lenses, allowing you to still be able to see. 

All things considered, you should probably wash your glasses, anyway. They probably have germs on them. So, now you have an extra incentive.

This Is Life Under Quarantine