Ottawa

Ottawa optometrist shares tips for masking up without foggy glasses

Dr. Shawn Charland, an optometrist with Eyedocs Ottawa, has some practical solutions that may banish foggy lenses for good.

Masks and cold weather are a bad combo for frustrating whiteouts

An Iowa City man's glasses fog up while he takes a winter walk in 2011. Foggy glasses have become a more frequent issue now with mask wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Bespectacled Ottawans are familiar with the seasonal problem of foggy lenses — even short walks in the winter cause cloudy glasses indoors which can take a couple of very long minutes to clear. 

Now with COVID-19 and mask wearing, that milky white irritation has only worsened.

Outside and masked up, updrafts of breath can cause condensation to freeze on the inside of glasses, necessitating the need for a fingernail scrape.

Or sometimes our heavy sighs can cause glasses to fog up inside, especially while trying to find something in particular at the grocery store.

While mask fit is a leading factor, Dr. Shawn Charland, an optometrist with Eyedocs Ottawa, has some other practical solutions that may banish foggy lenses for good — and help people from getting SARS-CoV-2 on their faces.

He shared these tips with CBC Radio's All in A Day in early December:

Tape, tape, tape 

Charland spends every work day up close to people's eyes wearing a mask, his glasses and an added layer of eye protection to stay safe during the pandemic. 

"So [there's] definitely potential for some serious fog to roll in," he told host Alan Neal.

His best tip is one he uses himself at the office: medical-grade tape to stick his paper mask to the bridge of his nose.

"I come to the office with my mask on and I just tape the top of it. I just use your standard medical tape that you use to tape a piece of gauze onto a skinned knee," he said.

A colleague uses Scotch Tape, which he said seems to work equally well.

As an added bonus, he said tape stops his mask from moving around as much so he touches it less and it stays cleaner.

Try an anti-fogging cloth

While it might sound gimmicky, Charland swears anti-fogging cloths do seem to help prevent cloudy lenses.

He said he's used one of these cloths with a built-in anti-fogging agent every day since June.

"It doesn't work 100 per cent perfectly, but it really cuts down on the amount of fogging that you get."

Keeping glasses fog-free can prevent you from touching your face while outside. (Andrew Lee/CBC)

He said each cloth is supposed to last about 500 uses and he's fairly certain his is still going strong.

Several companies make the cloths or other anti-fogging products including Bausch & Lomb, FogBlocker and even Speedo, which makes an anti-fog solution for swimming goggles. 

Experiment with a moisture seal

Charland has heard some people rave about a rolled-up piece of tissue under the top part of the mask to create a seal. 

"I tried that, it didn't work for me."

Tired of contending with foggy glasses while wearing masks? Help is on the way. 9:44

He has also heard of people using a small piece of window insulation to form a moisture seal at the top part of the mask.

"Some folks will take that stuff, they'll cut a strip of it and then use the adhesive side to stick under the top of the inside of their mask," he said.

"I haven't tried that yet but some people swear by it."

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