Though they offer protection against COVID-19, the worst part of wearing a face mask as a glasses-wearer is having your glasses fog up every time you take a breath. The fog makes it almost impossible to see, and when combined with chilly outdoor weather, presents an annoying and possibly dangerous dilemma.
I can’t recall the number of times I’ve yanked off my glasses in frustration and quickly wiped them down with whatever piece of cloth is easily accessible, just so I don’t run into anything.
I was aware of anti-fog sprays and cloths, but after a recent study from Duke University came out noting there are chemicals in some of these products that may potentially be harmful, I was hesitant to use them. Before this discovery, I had reached out to Jessica Reyes Mileti, a licensed optician in New York state and general manager of Clairmont Nichols Opticians, to get the low-down on how these sprays and cloths work.
“Most anti-fog sprays, wipes or treatments work by depositing a chemical to prevent condensation from forming on the lenses,” Mileti said.
The Duke study found that several anti-fog sprays and cloths contained high levels of fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) and fluorotelomer ethoxylates (FTEOs), two types of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are widely used “forever chemicals” that break down slowly and therefore have been found lingering in low levels in the environment and humans. There are thousands of types of PFAS, and while the science is still out on whether there is any potential harm from FTOHs and FTEOs specifically, some other PFAS are known to be associated with impaired immune function, cancer, thyroid disease and other health conditions.
With this new information in mind, I sought out alternative ways to prevent my glasses from fogging, and found other gadgets and hacks to help in addition to Mileti’s spray recommendation.
HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.
Zeiss anti-fog spray
"The Zeiss spray leaves behind a thin film on the lenses that can prevent fog for up to 72 hours," Mileti said. "Simply spray the cloth a couple of times and then spread on both sides of the lenses until completely dry."
Though the ingredients publicly listed in this specific spray are "water, proprietary detergents and preservatives," a Zeiss spokesperson confirmed to HuffPost that although the spray does contain certain PFAS, it does not contain PFOA or PFOS, two common types of PFAS that are known to be harmful. "There are no studies that show a link between the substances used in Zeiss products and the health conditions circulated in recent reports," the company said.
Get it on Amazon for $6.98.
Adhesive aluminum nose wires
One way to tackle the issue of foggy glasses is to enhance the mask you're wearing. Wires help your mask conform to the shape of your face and prevent your breath from escaping out the top of your mask. If it doesn't have a nose wire or the one it does have doesn't bend or stay in place well enough, these adhesive nose wires may be what you need. All you have to do is peel one from the sheet, apply it properly on your mask and bend it so that your masks fits better.
A mild dish soap like Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day dish soap
Yes, mild dish soap (without moisturizers) can aid in preventing foggy lenses. Rub a single drop onto both sides of each lens and rinse with water. Then let your glasses air dry, which will result in a thin film that prevents condensation from forming on the lens. With this method, a little really does go a long way, so be sure to only use one drop for each lens.
Get it on Amazon for $3.85.
A NIOSH-approved N95 foldable mask
The type and fit of your mask can affect whether your glasses fog up. This NIOSH-approved N95 mask has an adjustable nose wire to secure it on your face.
Get a 20-pack at N95 Mask Co. for $59.99.