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Are You Wearing Your Mask and Glasses Correctly? Here are 5 Key Tips For Glasses Wearers During The Pandemic

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Mandatory face coverings across the UK and much of Europe has extended our mental checklists before leaving the house to keys, phone, wallet, mask. It’s often uncomfortable and frustrating for most of us, but for glasses wearers – the burden is known all too well. The most common complaints have been discomfort, steaming-up and inconvenience. The good news, however, is that glasses can potentially provide an additional shield to protect against the virus. 

More than 6 in 10 people need to wear glasses 

6 in 10 people to wear glasses

Use of glasses and contact lenses UK: (CBS)

The number of people who are experiencing discomfort is by no means a minority. In fact, Specsavers have reported a staggering 242% increase in online searches on how to tackle the problem of glasses steaming up and slipping. Glasses wearers experience the steaming up of their lenses when they wear a face mask, making it difficult to see. Masks and glasses are also in competition for space on the face – one or the other often end up slipping down. Not to mention the jostling for space at the back of the ears. In a nutshell – the facemasks we’ve all come to need and appreciate cannot live in harmony with spectacles that are necessary for so many people – or can they? 

Fight the fog, find comfort and take time to combat your fears and anxieties with these 5 key tips for glasses wearers during the pandemic.

1. Fight the fog with force

Glasses lenses steam up when the gap between your mask and nose acts as a corridor of steam that flows upwards straight into space between your glasses and your face. Effectively, glasses wearers might as well be breathing warm air directly onto their lenses. The solution is to close this corridor by securing a tightly fitted face mask across your nose. 

This hardly increases the level of comfort in wearing a mask, but if it means you’ll be able to see through your lenses, it’s worth it. To make sure that your face mask fits tightly around your nose and cheeks, opt for masks that are contoured with nose wires. If you cannot find the perfect fit, consider using DIY hacks like tape to gently secure the mask to the cheeks.

2. Anti-fog lens wipes and sprays

Treating your lenses with an anti-fog wipe or spray will help them stay clear – even when wearing a facemask. It should be noted that wipes can be both more effective and convenient since the cloth is clean and doused in the solution. There’s less waste and it’s easier to apply. There are plenty of commercial anti-fog wipes available on the market. Simply wipe the cloth over the glasses lenses before you put them on with your facemask. 

You’ll enjoy up to hours of steam-free vision. However, do remember that if your lenses are coated – in polaroid, for example – be sure to choose a specifically designed formula that won’t damage your lenses.

3. Make space for your ears

As the elastic strings on face masks compete for space with the arms of your glasses – one has got to give. Since most glasses frames in the 21st century now come with arms – unless you opt for contact lenses – the compromise falls on the facemask. Fortunately, there are a few ways to secure a tight-fitting mask onto your face without the need to use your ears as weights.

The easiest way is to opt for masks that tie or strap at the back of the head. Combine this type of mask with tape for a good fit. Another option is to wear a soft fabric headband with two buttons attached to either side. Rather than looping your face mask around your ears – loop it around the buttons instead. It’s also worth making sure that your glasses frame fits your face shape. Check out here to see which face shape you have and how to properly measure glasses frames.

4. DIY anti-fog hacks

We know that steamed lenses can be frustrating, inconvenient and dangerous. Whilst there are solutions, sprays and wipes available, sometimes a DIY hack does the job, here are some tried and tested methods. 

Wash your glasses with soap and water. Any soap will do the trick but washing up liquid is more effective. Then dry them with a microfiber cloth. You’ll usually find this type of cloth comes with your purchased lenses but they can be found in all optometrists. It’s important to use a microfiber cloth rather than tissue – since this might leave lint behind which attracts moisture. The soap will reduce surface tension, which will limit the amount of fog from forming on your lenses. 

Another strong form of soap will be effective too. Shaving foam is a good alternative to washing up liquid. Apply a thin layer to the inside of your lenses and gently wipe it off. The residue will protect the glass from steaming up.

5. Take time to combat discomfort and anxiety

The high levels of discomfort in wearing both glasses and face masks might generate levels of worry and fear when it comes to going outside. Take a few minutes before leaving your home to make sure your mask is comfortable and your glasses are likely to stay in place. Take a few deep breaths to make sure you’ll be able to keep your mask on for any duration of time. 

If you feel uncomfortable, fear that your glasses will steam up, or if breathing is difficult, try a different mask. Explore commercially available designs or find the solution to your problem – whether that’s too loose a fit, too tight on your face, or not enough room for your glasses to sit on the bridge of your nose – by making your own face mask at home.

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Mary is a freelance tech and lifestyle writer based in London, UK. She runs a blog, An Eye Behind, that focuses on the secret life of London. Currently, she's contributing to HubPages, Sivana Spirit and Linesh Jose.

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