Fogged up glasses

By Anita Poon

As we live through stage 4 lockdown in Melbourne and with face masks commonplace in Victoria for the foreseeable future, a significant problem amongst spectacle wearers is the lenses becoming foggy. While contact lenses would eliminate this problem, it is not a feasible option for all. As a fellow spectacle wearer, here is some advice on how to reduce the problem of fogged-up spectacles. 


First and foremost, keep your spectacle lenses clean. Fogged-up lenses appear worse if they are also unclean lenses. Use a lens spray on both surfaces and wipe with a soft tissue at least daily, polish with a microfibre lens cloth. When you next purchase spectacles, ensure you choose a premium multicoated lens, such as Hoya Diamond Finish multicoat. These lenses are easier to keep clean as they do not attract as much dust and debris.


Ensure your face mask fits well around the bridge of your nose. Disposable masks will often have an embedded wire at the top edge. Pinch to adjust this wire to mould around the top of your nose to close any space through which exhaled breath can pass, or place a folded tissue at the top of the mask to seal the gap at the top. For reuseable cloth masks, add an adjustable thin strip of wire across the top edge, some are available in a self-adhesive option. Alternatively, tape the top edge of the face mask to your face across the bridge of the nose and cheeks using medical tape (you will find this tape in your first aid kit or available for purchase from your pharmacy).


Ensure your frames fit well. The addition of a face mask may alter the fit of your spectacles. The frames and lenses should not sit too close to your skin. Conversely, have your frames tightened should they ever become loose. Ideally, the frames or nose pads will sit over the face mask to further seal any air.   This will also encourage good hygiene as you are less likely to touch your face if you are wearing well-fitted spectacles.


Spectacle lenses become foggy due to  condensation. Condensation occurs when water vapour (gas) turns into droplets of water (liquid) on a much cooler surface (think of the steam on a bathroom mirror when you take a shower). If you wear your spectacles in a warm room they will fog up less than in a cold environment. While it is difficult to control the Melbourne winter, keeping your frames slightly warmer will help to reduce the condensation, so placing the glasses for a few minutes in front of the heater prior to wearing can make a big difference. Please note that lens coatings and some frames are damaged by heat, do not expose them to excessive hot water or direct heat.


Add a coating of fog-clearing treatment to the surface of your spectacle lenses. Whilst some DIY home treatments  such as soap and water, can help, results can be inconsistent. We DO NOT recommend using toothpaste as the abrasives within the toothpaste can scratch the lenses. Care needs to be taken with experimenting with chemicals and household items not intended for normal use with lenses. Some chemicals can strip the coatings off the lenses especially with polycarbonate plastic lenses.

Once the domain of skiing, scuba diving and other arctic pastimes, commercial fog-clearing lens treatments have become popular during these face mask-wearing times and our recommended option. When applied to a clean spectacle lens, they also reduce condensation. Some good examples of fog-clearing available in-store lens treatments include: 

  • Progear Anti-fog Lens Cleaner gel
  • Fog-off stick
  • Vu-Klear lens spray


Unfortunately, not all of our recent problems are as easy to fix as fogged-up spectacles. We are living through challenging and unprecedented times, and it is important to be careful and patient, but still remain optimistic in the knowledge that this will soon pass and we will soon be able to enjoy catching up with family and friends, dining out at restaurants, attend and play competitive sports, and visit and revisit all those places we previously took for granted. From the Sanctuary Lakes Eyecare family, we would like to wish you and your family keep well and safe. Our practice remains open for urgent care. Please contact us should you require any assistance.