As a glasses wearer, cold weather means only one thing.
This is a common problem that we spectacle wearers face, especially now we're heading into the colder months. In this blog post, we'll discuss why glasses fog up and provide some tips on how to prevent this infuriating problem from happening.
Why do glasses fog up?
In cold weather, your eyeglasses fog up because of the change in temperature when you transition from being inside to going outside. This thermal shift causes condensation to form on your lenses making it difficult to see. This is a common problem for glasses wearers during the winter months and gets super annoying when you're out and about, driving your car or when you step back inside.
To help with your foggy lenses, scroll below for our 12 top tips to stop your glasses steaming up in winter.
How to stop your glasses fogging up
Tip #1 Use anti-fog spray
Anti-fog spray is a great way to help prevent glasses lenses fogging up in winter weather. It creates a thin film on the lens that helps to keep moisture away, which can help to reduce the amount of fogging that takes place. To use anti-fog spray, simply apply it to the lenses of your glasses and give them a few seconds to dry. You can then put your glasses on and enjoy clear vision in cold weather.
But which anti-fog spray to buy?
Tip #2 Leave a gap for your face coverings
Leaving a gap between any face coverings and your glasses is another way to help stop them fogging up. If you have a scarf or hat that covers your mouth and nose, make sure there's a small gap between the top of the fabric and bottom of your glasses so that the warm air doesn't rise behind your lenses and fog them up. In especially cold weather, try to avoid breathing on or into your glasses if you're having trouble with them fogging up.
Tip #3 Let your glasses change temperature
If you're having trouble with your glasses fogging up in cold weather, try to let them adjust to the temperature difference before you try to use them. If they're cold from being outside, give them a few minutes to warm up indoors before putting them back on.
To fast-track this process, why not use this as an opportunity to clean your glasses? Using some mild hand soap and warm water, you can gently elevate your frame's temperature whilst making your lenses sparkling clean. This tip is especially handy when you're get back home on a cold autumn or winter's day and is a great habit for keeping your glasses in good condition.
Remember, it's the change of ambient air temperature that causes your lenses to fog, so the same applies in reverse.
Heading outside, your glasses are likely to be warm from indoor heat and body temperature. This is harder to manage, so having a microfibre lens cloth will help you wipe your foggy lenses clear until they adjust to the frosty air.
Thinking ahead - If you're going to wear your glasses outside during winter, you could always 'prep your frame' by equalising its temperature ahead of time. In other words, make your glasses cold before you head outside. This might sound strange but if you don't need to wear your glasses indoors, or you have a spare pair, pre-cooling your frame reduces the likelihood of fogging. Here's some weird but effective examples;
- Keeping your glasses out in your car
- Store your glasses in a cold room or vestibule
- Put them outside or on a windowsill
- Put them in the fridge
Tip #4 Don't wear your glasses on top of your head
Besides wrecking the shape of your frame, wearing them on top your head is another reason why they fog during cold weather. Venting as much as 10% of your body heat, the warm air venting from your head rises up and onto your lenses causes them to condensate and fog up. The colder the weather, the more likely this will happen due to the temperature difference.
A sinful habit. If you value your glasses, don't treat them like a hairband. By wearing them on top of your head, you're putting stress on the frame and it's temples (arms) wider than they should be. Over time, this will warp your glasses and make them slack. If you're experiencing a loose fit or any kind of fogging, it's time to break this habit, once and for all.
Tip #5 Always carry a lens cloth
A proper microfibre lens cloth is the only material you should consider for cleaning your spectacle lenses as it's super effective at removing dirt, dust and grease. Not only is this material gentle on your lens coatings, but its absorbent fibres easily removes moisture form your lenses. As the cloth is made from thousands of microscopic fibres, they can get into all the nooks and crannies of the lens surface, making sure that every area is cleaned. This is especially handy for when they fog up in cold weather.
Never use your clothing to wipe your lenses. All those quick rubs with your shirt eventually add up and ruin any expensive lens coatings. The fibres of your clothes are much harsher than microfibre, which is enough to make your optician want to cry each time you take this nasty shortcut.
Tip #6 Avoid touching your lenses
If you're having trouble with your glasses fogging up in cold weather, try to avoid getting hand cream, moisturiser and other skin products on your lenses. These can cause your glasses to become even more dirty and cloudy, which will make them difficult to see through.
Whilst you should definitely take care of your skin, try to avoid touching your glasses immediately after applying any skin products to reduce smears and smudges on your lenses. If you do have to adjust or remove your glasses, try holding your frame by the temples (arms) only and put them into their protective case.
Tip #7 Keep your lenses clean
When the temperature outside is colder than the temperature indoors, the difference in ambient air will cause your lenses to condensate and fog up. This problem is exacerbated when you have grease, dirt or dust on your lenses as they provide a surface for water droplets to cling onto and form fog. To reduce the chances of this happening, make sure to clean your lenses regularly with a microfibre lens cloth and keep them free from any contaminants.
If you regularly commute, have kids or pets, keeping your lenses clean on-the-go can be a nightmare. To help, it's a good idea to carry a cleaning cloth on you for when your lenses need a quick wipe. This handy Cloth Capsule attaches to your keys and discreetly stores a travel-sized glasses cleaning cloth; perfect for those in-between moments when you need to clean your glasses.
Tip #8 Watch out for hot drinks
If you're commuting on a cold day and grab a coffee or tea to go, hot steam rising from the cup can also cause your glasses lenses to fog up. Similar to breathing onto your glasses, the warm air and moisture from your brew will cause your lenses to condensate.
To prevent this from happening, keep your cup at arm's length or opt for a carry-lid on your cup to contain the steam away from your lenses. Alternatively, you can remove your glasses whilst you sip your tasty flat white, double espresso or whatever it is that get's you through.
Tip #9 Make sure your glasses fit you properly
If your glasses fit too closely to your face, they're more susceptible to fogging up from your body heat. The closer the glasses are to your skin, the more likely you are to experience this problem. To help reduce the chances of this happening, try to position your frame so there's more of a gap between the backside of your lenses and your skin. This allows for better airflow and stops your glasses getting cloudy.
One of the most common issues with poorly fitting glasses is when your bridge width is too wide. This causes the lower-rim of your glasses frame to rest on your cheeks. This brings your glasses closer to your skin and increases their chances of steaming up in chilly weather. Additionally, your glasses will perpetually slide down your nose, forcing you to constantly reposition and touch them which makes your lenses get dirty - fast.
If your bridge is to wide, you could always purchase some adhesive silicone nose pads to help perch your frame better on your nose. These add-ons are relatively cheap and can be ordered online from Amazon.
For a guide to spectacle frame sizing, click here.
Tip #10 Invest in good lens coatings
Lenses with anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings often contain hydrophobic and oleophobic chemicals to repel water, dirt and oil. By repelling these contaminants, the lenses are less likely to fog up or become scratched.
Hydrophobic chemicals work by creating a barrier on the lens surface that prevents water droplets from clinging onto the lens surface. This causes water to bead up and roll off, which reduces the amount of moisture that is able to condense on the lens. Oleophobic chemicals have a similar effect by repelling oil and other fatty substances. This stops them from sticking to the lens surface and prevents smudges from forming.
If you're looking for a pair of glasses that won't fog up in winter, it's important to invest in lenses that use hydrophobic and/or oleophobic coatings. Whilst these coatings will help to reduce the amount of fogging and scratching, they won't completely stop it from happening. It's still important to take care of your lenses by cleaning them regularly and avoiding contact with skin products.
Tip #11 Lens material matters
When it comes to fogging, plastic lenses are less likely to fog up than mineral glass equivalents. This is because the hydrophobic and oleophobic chemicals are more effectively absorbed into the plastic material, creating a stronger barrier against water and dirt. As a result, plastic lenses are much less likely to experience this problem in cold weather.
Breaking news. Nowadays, most optical lenses aren't made of glass. Instead, they're made from plastics such as CR39 or polycarbonate. Over the past 30 years or so, technological advancements in lens materials have made plastic lenses comparably good and in some cases, better and more easily recycled than mineral glass ones.
Tip #12 Keep your lens cloths clean and dry
This may seem obvious, but it's surprising how many people neglect cleaning their glasses cleaning cloths properly. Truth is, if your lens cloth is dirty, you'll only smear the dirt and grease across the lens surface, making the problem worse.
Once a week, throw your lens cloth in you washing machine to keep it working effectively. Better still, rotate between several cloths through the week to keep things fresh. (Optical pride is a real thing you know!)
It's also important to keep your lens cloth dry. If it's damp, it'll be less effective at removing condensation from your foggy lenses. Ideally, your lens cloths should be kept clean and dry in a sealed container, just like our handy Cloth Capsule.
Foggy glasses is a common problem during cold weather. Depending where you live, huge temperature-swings are mainly to blame.
However, the 12 tips in this guide should hopefully help you 'control the controllables' when it comes to your optical habits. From choosing the right lens coatings to keeping your lens cloths clean and dry, there are plenty of ways to prevent your spectacles from becoming steamed-up.
Whilst none of these tips are guaranteed to stop glasses from fogging altogether, they'll certainly help minimise this annoying problem. So if you're looking to stop the dreaded glasses fog this winter, be sure to try some of the methods listed in this guide.
Hopefully you found this article helpful. Please check out our other eyecare blogs. Thanks for stopping by.