Tips for Wearing a Cloth Face Covering with Glasses

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By Sarah Balke

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for wearing a cloth face covering in public locations such as the grocery store or pharmacy, where social distancing is difficult to maintain. As a fellow “four eyes”, I understand the challenges of wearing a cloth face covering while wearing glasses. The fog created on your glasses from breathing can create a safety hazard all on its own.

The CDC guidelines also include a list of things you should look for when making or purchasing a face cover or face mask. Your face covering should:

  • fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • be secured with ties or ear loops
  • include multiple layers of fabric
  • allow for breathing without restriction
  • be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to shape

Finding a protective cloth face covering that meets these criteria is easy. Finding a solution to wearing it with glasses is another story. I decided to test a variety of tips/tricks I found online to see what actually worked the best. Here are my results:

  1. TIP: Use dish soap on your lenses and allow to air dry. This tip is backed by a study done in 2011. I tried liquid hand soap and liquid dish soap for this test. The method includes “shaking off the excess water” and then let the spectacles air dry or gently dry off the lenses with a soft tissue. Mostly I just got spotted lenses due to hard water, and it didn’t really do a good job keeping the lenses from fogging up. I would rate this method 2 out of 5.
  2. PRODUCT: Leader Anti-static, Anti-fog formula lens wipes from Hilco; ordered from Amazon: These did a great job cleaning my lenses. However, they didn’t do much for keeping the fog off the lens when wearing a face covering. I did notice the fog clears much more quickly after cleaning the lens with this wipe, but overall I would rate this a 2 out of 5.
  3. PRODUCT: Don & Jons Antifog Extreme spray; ordered from Amazon. This spray worked much like the wipes as far as effectiveness, but you also have to wait 2-3 minutes for it to dry. It doesn’t completely prevent the lens from fogging up, but the lenses do clear much more quickly than without the spray treatment. I would rate this a 3 out of 5.
  4. TIP: Fold a Kleenex® into a rectangle and put it in the top of the face covering. This worked really well! I actually found that taping two folded squares of Kleenex into the top part of my face covering, on either side of the nose area, worked the best. The tissue helps absorb the extra moisture and fills the gap created by the bridge of the nose. This is a great short term, low cost solution, but it’s definitely not the most stylish! Overall, I would give this method a rating of 4 out of 5 for effectiveness. An added bonus…there is nothing being put on my lenses so I don’t have to worry about damaging them.
  5. PRODUCT: Easy View Anti-fog dry cloth; ordered from Amazon. This cloth is the best of all the options I have found. I used this cloth on a single lens and put on my face covering. No fog! I even tried to create fog on the lens by breathing directly on it. Again… NO FOG! After 24 hours, still no fog! This has been a great solution. There are several antifog cloth products on Amazon that cost between $10-$20/cloth and last anywhere between 200-1000 uses. I would rate this a 5 out of 5, but I’ve only used this a few times and do not know if there will be any long term effects on my lenses.

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https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3293317/

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