As public health officials warn people that we may be wearing face masks past the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, some people are left with an irritating side-effect, foggy glasses.

If your eyeglasses are fogging when you put on a face mask, it’s because warm, moist air you exhale is being directed up to your glasses. To stop the fogging, you need to block your breath from reaching the surfaces of your lenses.

Listed below are suggestions to help with foggy eyeglasses:

I. Immediately before wearing a face mask, wash the spectacles with soapy water and shake off the excess.
II. 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.
III. The soapy water creates a “Thin Surfactant Film” that temporarily prevents the surface tension that causes glasses to fog up from breaths directed upward by face masks. It is not a permanent solution, however, and must be repeated a few times a day.
IV. There are wipes and sprays that are designed to tackle foggy glasses. Before trying one, make sure the ingredients will not damage any protective coatings on your lenses.

A quick word of caution: Be careful before putting chemicals near your eyes. Defogging your glasses isn’t worth causing irritations that could affect your vision in more serious ways.

Sheila Birnbaum’s professional career has been devoted to enhancing patient care. As the Director of the Patient Advocacy Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH), Hamilton, NJ, she instituted numerous programs, many which received statewide recognition, including several prestigious rewards.