Anti-fog solutions for glasses are any product or change of habit a person can undergo that will reduce the chances that their glasses fog up. Most anti-fog products and coatings work by reducing the ability for water to condense onto glasses, which is what causes them to fog up.
Why Anti-Fog for Glasses Matters
Fogging is a somewhat common annoyance for glasses wearers, as moisture collects on their glasses lenses, partially or completely blocking their sight. While this is often only inconvenient and has the potential to make an individual look temporarily odd to onlookers, it can be dangerous if the person is operating heavy machinery or driving and suddenly their vision is obstructed.
The pandemic has made fogged glasses a much more common occurrence, as wearing facemasks and similar coverings makes glasses much more likely to fog up.
Best Anti-Fog Options for Glasses
A New York Times article investigating a variety of anti-fogging options for glasses users found Ultra Clarity’s Defog It anti-fog drops to be one of the best available options. However, that same article admits that while the product did the best overall, some testers had problems with it, and it also requires frequent reapplication.
Another option comes from Zenni Optical, a reputable glasses seller known for low prices, which offers anti-fog glasses. For $12.95, they can add an anti-fog and anti-reflective coating to most lenses. Compared to similar offerings from other companies, which generally charge much more, this is a fairly strong price point.
Why Do Glasses Fog Up?
Glasses fog up as a result of condensation. Common situations that cause condensation include the following:
- Sipping hot drinks
- Taking a warm bath
- Opening the oven or a steamy dishwasher
- Exerting yourself, such as during exercise or sports
- Moving from a hot to a cold environment or vice versa
- Having your or someone else’s warm breath blow toward your glasses
This happens because your glasses are cooler than the air that contains warm moisture. The air suddenly changes temperature as it hits the glass, causing the water to condense onto the glass, creating fog.
Who Can Benefit From Anti-Fog Products?
Almost anyone who experiences fogging frequently can benefit from anti-fogging products. Some of the people who can most benefit include the following:
- Emergency responders
- Heavy machine operators
In the cases of individuals in these and similar roles, fogging has the potential to cause problems as they perform tasks that even a split-second delay may result in a serious problem. Even if fogging is rare for these individuals, it would only take one mistake caused by fog to potentially cause them or someone else serious harm or at least damage the quality of their work.
Facemasks & Glasses Fogging
While facemasks have been in common use elsewhere for years, people living in the United States only recently began wearing facemasks semi-regularly as a result of the pandemic. While these masks can help reduce the spread of disease, they do increase the chances that a person wearing glasses experiences fogging.
This happens because masks partially redirect your warm breath. While the air can escape through the material, most people don’t wear their masks tight enough to prevent some air from escaping out the sides of the mask too. If air escapes out the top of the mask, it can blow onto your glasses.
To prevent this, make sure your mask is tightly secured at the nose. Most masks can be adjusted to sharply reduce or completely remove this inconvenience if you make them tight enough. Surgeons and other medical practitioners have been known to even use tape on the top of medical masks, as this can prevent air from escaping out that way in situations where they must see clearly at all times.
Homemade Anti-Fogging Solutions
Preventing fog on glasses isn’t always easy but some home solutions can help.
First, a clean microfiber cloth can help to keep your glasses clean. Fogging is known to be worse on glasses that are already smudged, as the obscuring effects can compound each other. While not a perfect solution, these clothes are cheap, and it is a good idea to keep your glasses clean anyway.
If your fog is the result of wearing a mask, you can use tape to better seal it. Avoid tapes that irritate the skin or don’t pull off easily. Duct tape is a bad tape for this purpose for both reasons. Medical and athletic tape are ideal, as they are designed with human skin in mind.
One of the easiest anti-fogging solutions is not to wear glasses. While it has obvious disadvantages, many people can temporarily go without glasses if performing activities likely to cause fogging, like exercising or taking hot baths. If you switch to contacts, fogging becomes a non-issue and you can still correct your vision.
How to Choose Glasses That Reduce Fogging
As mentioned, some glasses companies offer anti-fog coatings they can put onto glasses, reducing their ability to fog up. When choosing these options, look at the available frames and lenses the company is offering. Price points can vary significantly, with price not always being a strong indicator of how effective the coating will be.
The reason we recommend Zenni Optical is they have a good reputation and highly competitive pricing. However, one disadvantage of that company is they don’t accept insurance.
If you can save more by taking advantage of your vision plan, explore your options by first looking at the sites of companies you’re interested in. Then, read reviews of their products before you make a purchase.
Anti-Fog Solutions for Athletes
For athletes, soft contact lenses can make a good anti-fog option. Soft contact lenses are unlikely to cause significant eye problems when worn correctly, even under the physical stresses athletes may put them through.
If you have to wear glasses or sports goggles, choose options with either a pre-applied anti-fog coating or buy a product so you can apply the coating yourself. Before important events, clean your glasses or goggles thoroughly and reapply the coating according to the instructions.
One small recommendation for athletes that can impact the level of fogging that occurs is to wear a headband. Headbands can absorb sweat, reducing how much moisture can collect on your glasses.
Anti-Fogging Glasses FAQs
How do I keep my glasses from fogging up?
For many individuals, buying a high-quality, well-fitted facemask (and reading a tutorial on how to wear a mask properly) will reduce how often they deal with fogging. If you are experiencing fogging for other reasons, or you seem to experience fogging from your mask no matter what you do, you can buy an anti-fogging solution to put on your glasses or purchase glasses with a pre-applied and semi-permanent anti-fog coating.
What company offers the best anti-fog prescription glasses?
While more research should be done into the overall quality of various companies’ anti-fog offerings, Zenni Optical’s anti-fog glasses have a good reputation. Their anti-fog coating only increases your lens costs by about $13.
Why do my glasses fog up in the cold?
Your glasses are relatively cold when outside in cool air, and your breath is warm. Condensation from your warm breath lands on your lenses, causing them to fog up.
Can soap stop my glasses from fogging up?
For a DIY solution to glasses fogging up, you can apply soap to wet lenses. Rinse the lenses under warm water and gently dry them with a microfiber cloth. This can lessen how much they fog up, but a good long-term solution is to use an anti-fog product on the lenses. You can also purchase lenses with an anti-fog product already on them.
4 Simple Tips to Avoid Foggy Glasses. Essilor of America.
Anti-Fog Glasses. Zenni Optical.
How to Avoid Foggy Glasses When Wearing a Face Mask, According to Experts. (November 2021). Good Housekeeping.
The Best Anti-Fog for Glasses and a Mask. (March 2021). The New York Times.
How to Stop Your Glasses From Fogging Up When You Wear a Mask. (April 2021). CNN.
How to Prevent Glasses From Fogging Up While Wearing a Mask. (May 2020). NPR.
Last Updated August 9, 2022
Note: This page should not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice from a doctor or specialist. Please review our about page for more information.