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Face masks and how to prevent your glasses from steaming up

Has COVID-19 forced you to wear glasses and a mask at the same time?

If so, you may be entitled to condensation.

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease across the country, new regulations have been introduced to help slow the spread of the virus.  This includes making it mandatory to wear face masks on all public transport. Scotland is already applying this rule to shops too, and shoppers in England will be required to wear face masks from 24 July. However, as the population begins to embrace the wearing of face masks indefinitely; many glasses wearers are left reeling from problems caused by their glasses steaming up.

Why do my glasses fog up when I wear a mask?

The answer is surprisingly simple. When water vapour from your breath escapes from the top of your mask, it causes condensation to form on your lenses.

What are the risks of foggy glasses?

Other than the obvious irritation that continuously having to wipe your glasses brings, there are also some potentially harmful issues associated with foggy lenses, especially for elderly patients.

Independent studies have shown that bifocal and multifocal glasses wearers are already more at risk of falls, as wearers can often misjudge distance and perspectives due to reduced depth perception.1,2,3,4 If we include the reduced visibility caused by their lenses steaming up, the risk becomes far greater. With many falls requiring hospital treatment, it is also important to consider the extra strain this has on the NHS, especially during these exceptional times.   

The fogging of glasses means that the wearer has no option but to touch their face more often, potentially spreading conditions such as COVID.

What is the solution?

A short term solution would be to improve the fit of your mask.  If you are wearing a surgical mask, mould the bendable strip to fit your nose, this should better conceal your face which in turn should lessen the chance of your breath escaping from the mask. For cotton face masks, simply tighten the sides of your masks to ensure a better fit around the nose area.  However this is only a short term fix, with the need for face masks showing no signs of letting up any time soon, it may be time to consider a more sustainable vision correction option such as a laser eye or lens replacement surgery.

Over 99% of patients achieve 20/20 vision, or better following laser eye surgery at Optical Express…and you could be one of them.  The visual freedom achieved as a follow-on to vision correction surgery cannot be underestimated.  The function that vision plays in our everyday life is quite staggering. 

 If you want to experience the confidence and visual freedom that laser or lens surgery can bring, if you want to free yourself from the burden of your glasses, stay healthy and protect our NHS, then why not talk to our expert team about booking your free consultation today.



  1. Multifocal Glasses Impair Edge-Contrast Sensitivity and Depth Perception and Increase the Risk of Falls in Older People; Lord SR; J Am Geriatr Soc 2002; 50:1760-6
  2. Epidemiology of falls; Masud T. et al; Age Ageing 2001; 30:3-7;
  5. In a study of 190,231 Optical Express patients with the most common prescriptions we treat (excluding those with presbyopia and emmetropia), 99.2% achieved 20/20 vision or better following treatment.