Though they offer protection against COVID-19, the worst part of wearing a face mask as a glasses-wearer is having your glasses fog up every time you take a breath. The fog makes it almost impossible to see, and when combined with chilly outdoor weather, presents an annoying and possibly dangerous dilemma.
I can’t recall the number of times I’ve yanked off my glasses in frustration and quickly wiped them down with whatever piece of cloth is easily accessible, just so I don’t run into anything.
I was aware of anti-fog sprays and cloths, but after a recent study from Duke University came out noting there are chemicals in some of these products that may potentially be harmful, I was hesitant to use them. Before this discovery, I had reached out to Jessica Reyes Mileti, a licensed optician in New York state and general manager of Clairmont Nichols Opticians, to get the low-down on how these sprays and cloths work.
“Most anti-fog sprays, wipes or treatments work by depositing a chemical to prevent condensation from forming on the lenses,” Mileti said.
The Duke study found that several anti-fog sprays and cloths contained high levels of fluorotelomer alcohols (FTOHs) and fluorotelomer ethoxylates (FTEOs), two types of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are widely used “forever chemicals” that break down slowly and therefore have been found lingering in low levels in the environment and humans. There are thousands of types of PFAS, and while the science is still out on whether there is any potential harm from FTOHs and FTEOs specifically, some other PFAS are known to be associated with impaired immune function, cancer, thyroid disease and other health conditions.
With this new information in mind, I sought out alternative ways to prevent my glasses from fogging, and found other gadgets and hacks to help in addition to Mileti’s spray recommendation.
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