It’s an unfortunate side effect of wearing glasses and a face mask: lens fog. Luckily, you don’t have to choose between blurry vision and preventing the spread of COVID-19—some mask designs are better than others at preventing foggy glasses.
But first, a quick primer why a face mask can make your glasses cloud up in the first place. A few things are at play here. When you breathe out, your breath is warm. “The temperature of the glasses is different than your exhalation,” says Suzanne Willard, Ph.D., a clinical professor and associate dean for global health at the Rutgers School of Nursing. “That will produce condensation on the inside of your glasses.”
A mask ratchets up the issue because it can trap your exhalations—and some masks are worse about this than others. “Masks that do not seal well over the nose direct our warm breath up our cheeks towards our glasses, thus fogging them up and making it harder to see,” says Isabel Valdez, an instructor of internal medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing a cloth face mask every time you go out in public and when you’re around people who don’t live in your household, creating a lot of opportunities for your glasses to fog up. So finding face masks that can cohabitate with your glasses is clutch.
What are the best face masks for people with glasses?
It’s less about style and more about fit, Willard says. “A tight fit around the nose helps,” she says. “Masks that have a wire on the top can be adjusted to fit closely and snugly, and can fit just under your glasses.”
If your glasses are fogging up when you wear your mask, it’s a sign that your mask isn’t creating a great seal on your face, Valdez says: “The better the seal, the less fogging you should notice.”
Valdez recommends looking for a “firm wire that molds over the nose” so that you can avoid touching it often to readjust it. Adjustable ear loops or ties can be helpful, too, she says: Getting a good seal with these features “should help redirect the breath down and way from the eyes.”
From there, it’s really a matter of personal preference. An Olson-style mask—a mask design created by medical professionals that curves to your face—can naturally fit more snugly over the nose, Valdez says, but Willard points out that a pleated mask with a wire allows for easy adjustments for a good fit. So, really, it’s up to you—just make sure it fits.
Here are a few options to get you started:
A soft mask with an M-shaped nose clip and adjustable ear loops, this option is great for finding the perfect fit.
These masks have a wire around the nose for easy molding. And, with four layers of fabric, they meet the World Health Organization’s recommendations for cloth face masks.
Specially designed for the glasses set, these masks contain an adjustable metal nose wire and easily fit under frames.
These masks are made from the same lightweight moisture-wicking fabrics as their best-selling sporty bags. You’ll never feel sweaty or foggy underneath this guy.
It might look just another basic face mask, but it’s made with a nose bridge, interior filter pouch, and adjustable straps to save your ears.
The construction of Wolford masks are intentionally structured with a 3D feel, giving your face enough room to move and breathe.
If you keep up with our stories here at Men's Health, you know we love this Under Armour mask. Sure, it’s a great face mask for working out, but it also keeps your face cool with moisture-wicking materials that absorb the sweat before it rises to your glasses.
Banana Republic has solid masks to go with any outfit. The adjustable nose wire helps to keep your glasses clear of fog.
We’re huge fans of anything Everlane creates, and their face masks are no different. The 100% Human Face Masks feels like a warm hug on your face. Plus, the brand is donating 10% of the proceeds to the ACLU, so you can feel good purchasing a comfortable face mask with proceeds going to charity. The nose contour keeps the air flowing and the breath steam to a minimal (gross, but true).
Organic cotton is one fabric that can help prevent maskne, because you know there are no chemicals used in the making. The darting on the Zenbu masks makes this one feel customized to the wearer.
Contour is everything when it comes to keeping the fog out of your glasses. The adjustable straps also help with proper air flow.
Usually the most stylish face masks don’t perform the best. But that’s not the case with Baggu. In fun bold prints, these feature an adjustable nose wire and extra filter insert.
They aren’t the coolest masks on the block, but they sure do work. And by work, we mean two things: they keep your nose and mouth cool under the contoured covering, while also killing germs through a self-sterilization technology.
Sanctuary masks are made with super high-quality materials, so you know you’re putting the best fabric on your face. While it’s not visibly structured, there are nose wirings to keep the air moving. The smaller material of this mask, along with the side face openings keeps you breathing freely.
The cut and form of this mask helps keeps the steam down and the air flowing safely.
A structured mask keeps the fog out of your glasses. This one from Hedley & Bennett is super functional. It’s made with the help of a doctor, so you know it was thoughtfully designed. You can insert a disposable filter for extra protection.
The design of this mask is pretty unique. The combo of the curve and boxy shape allows air to flow naturally without that suffocation feeling. We love that you can wear it both around the head, or around the ears. Plus, when you buy one, Birdwell will give one.
This features a triple layer that feels like a single, to make all mask haters content with wearing one.
Sure, they are basic, but that’s sometimes what you need. These face masks from Uniqlo feature their high-tech, quick-drying fabric that won’t get all dense with moisture.
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