Disclosures: Kramer reports she is a consultant for Spectrum International Group.
December 31, 2020
2 min read

Encourage contact lens wear to combat mask-induced foggy glasses

Disclosures: Kramer reports she is a consultant for Spectrum International Group.
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With the CDC and the WHO now recommending that face masks be worn to help curb the spread of COVID-19, millions of eyeglass wearers are discovering the nuisance of mask-induced foggy lenses.

With face masks and visors now a part of our everyday attire, the issue of fogging has, for many, become a real problem – debilitating their work and making life uncomfortable when carrying out simple tasks such as walking into a store.

When you wear a face mask, you breathe out warm, humid air. This air then can sneak out of the top of your mask and steam up the lenses of your glasses, because the humid air condenses on the cooler eyeglass lens. This condensation produces tiny droplets that scatter light and reduce the lens’s ability to transmit contrast. Fogging has been an issue for spectacle wearers working in a number of sectors, including optometry.

While some of the more than 150 million North Americans who rely on glasses fiddled with some home remedies, including custom-fitting face coverings, adhesive nose strips, specialized wipes or home-grown soapy water treatments, the solution for fogging could be as simple as making the switch from glasses to contact lenses. The Contact Lens Institute (CLI) reports that eye care practitioners have been fitting more long-time glasses wearers in contact lenses because of mask-related fogging, especially when subject is brought up by the eye care practitioner.

Elise Kramer, OD, FAAO, FSLS
Elise Kramer

According to the WHO, contact lens wear is safe and does not impact the spread of the coronavirus, especially if good lens care and hygiene is practiced, including:

  • Proper hand washing before every insertion and removal with soap, water and paper towels for drying;
  • Cleaning lenses upon removal; and
  • Disinfecting lenses as recommended by the manufacturer.

In addition to being safe, they are a comfortable way to keep vision crystal clear during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The British Contact Lens Association has released a “Stopping the Steam” campaign, encouraging practitioners to discuss the option of trying contact lenses with patients frustrated by mask-induced glasses fogging. The campaign comes in the wake of extensive research into the positive impact contact lenses can have during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

The CLI-supported EASY Way (Eyes, Awareness, Safety and You) program presents wear and care tips through simplified, interesting and memorable tools for eye care practitioners and staff to use in their practices. Both the Stopping the Steam campaign and EASY Way program will not only encourage patients to try contact lenses but may also build longer-term satisfaction and convert glasses-only wearers to regular contact lens wearers.