The rules around wearing face coverings in shops in England are about to change, and people in Scotland and other European cities are already being asked to wear them in enclosed public spaces.
While the measures are an important step in helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus, if you happen to be a glasses wearer you’ll realise that the donning of a face mask can cause your breath to steam up your lenses.
And foggy lenses are no good to anyone, just ask Michael Gove.
“Wearing a facemask or face covering is becoming the new normal, but one of the minor problems of the COVID-19 pandemic is fogged-up eyewear,” explains Ceri Smith-Jaynes from the Association of Optometrists.
“This happens when warm breath escapes from the top of the mask and lands on the cooler surface of the lens.”
Thankfully, there are some simple hacks you can adopt to help you stop the steam.
Ensure the mask is well-fitted
Smith-Jaynes suggests taking a little time to shape the nose wire on your face mask, so it closely follows the contours of your nose and cheeks and secure the top strap well. “If your mask has no wire, you can insert a twist tie or pipe cleaner into the top edge of the mask,” she adds. “You could secure the top edge with micro-pore tape, if necessary. Alternatively, fold a tissue until it forms a strip and place it along the top edge of the mask before you put it on.”
Adjust the loops
If you have a small head, you may find you need to twist the loops before putting them around your ears to get a snugger fit. “If the mask has tapes to tie it, tie the top one high on the back of your head after putting on your glasses,” Smith-Jaynes explains.
Read more: The face mask hacks you need to know
Buy good quality anti-fog sprays
Not all anti-fog sprays are created equal. “Good quality anti-fog sprays can work well and can be purchased from most opticians,” Smith-Jaynes says.
Though it is tempting to swish some washing-up liquid on your lenses, according to optometrists this is a big no, no. “[Using washing up liquid on lenses] can break down the anti-reflection lens coating gradually over the years, resulting in a crazy-paving effect for which there is only one cure – replacement lenses,” Smith-Jaynes warns.
Keep your glasses warm
Your lenses will fog up more if they are cold, so Smith-Jaynes suggests wearing your glasses or putting them in your pocket to warm them a little before you need to put them on with your mask.
Have your glasses professionally fitted
Still steaming up under your mask? Might be worth seeking professional help from your optician. “Remember to take your mask with you (and your face-shield if you need to work in one),” Smith-Jaynes says. “They can adjust the nose-pads or sides to fit properly with your PPE. Varifocals will need to sit exactly right to ensure optimum performance.”
Read more: How to safely dispose of a face mask
Consider contact lenses
If you’ve never worn them before, now could be a good opportunity to give them a go. “If it’s been years since you wore contact lenses, ask the practice about the new options,” Smith-Jaynes suggests.
“You’ll need a professional fitting by an optometrist or contact lens optician. The range of prescriptions is vast; even if you wear varifocal glasses, there are options for you.”