COVID-19, Glasses, Face Masks, and Foggy Lenses.
Healthcare workers such as myself are wearing face masks all day while working on the front lines. This includes occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech therapists. If you are like me and have poor vision, you need to wear glasses at work.
You likely have had your glasses fog up when wearing a face mask. This can be very frustrating, especially when you are working with a patient during a session. Foggy glasses may even be unsafe when it obstructs your vision. Imagine your glasses fogging up during a transfer with a patient going from one surface to another – or when assisting a patient in the shower. In general, to minimize infection, you want to avoid touching your face, and this includes your glasses too.
Glasses vs. Contact Lenses
You might be thinking, why not just wear contact lenses?
Wearing glasses as opposed to contact lenses has its benefits. With COVID-19, glasses offer some protection for your eyes as opposed to nothing at all. It also offers some protection from surprise fluids such as sneezes from your patients. Wearing contact lenses exposes you to these risks. Of course, with PUI’s and confirmed COVID-19 cases, wear the recommended PPE and not just glasses itself. Contact lenses may also dry out your eyes and cause discomfort during your shift. Personally, I get headaches by the end of my shift from wearing contact lenses.
Pull the face mask up higher towards your eyes.
Many articles try to address the foggy glasses issue when you wear a face mask. My recommendation is to wear the face mask offered by your hospital. This is likely a surgical mask that has a metal band that can contour over and around your nose.
The best way to minimize or completely prevent your glasses from fogging your glasses is to:
- Wear a surgical-type mask that has a metal piece for your nose.
- Pull the face mask up higher towards your eyes.
- Pull the face mask as high as you can tolerate almost under your eyelids, then pull it a little lower.
- Starting from the center of the mask, press down on the metal nose piece to form a good seal around your nose and across your face (medial to lateral).
- Put on your glasses.
- If you have different types of glasses, larger framed glasses seem to work better. The weight from the bottom frames of your glasses can help to keep a good seal on the top of your face mask.
- Enjoy fogless glasses with a face mask on.
Your mileage may vary, especially if you have a custom-made fabric face mask. When you exhale, a lot of the air may escape from the top and fog up your glasses. You should be keeping your glasses clean from debris, so try this approach:
Wash your glasses with soapy water, shake off the excess and then allow the lenses to air-dry.
Other things you can try are:
- Using another mask with better seal
- Another pair of glasses
- Commercial anti-fog sprays.