Prior to 2020 foggy glasses were an occasional annoyance that may have only plagued patients in particular locations or vocations. Now, with masks a requirement in many states, glasses wearers are finding fogging of lenses to be a continuous and frustrating challenge. This article will cover the options available to prevent lens fogging, including the new Essilor® Anti-Fog AR.
Lens fogging: from mild annoyance to recurring problem
Wearing a face mask has abruptly become a part of daily life around the world. In many areas, wearing a face mask is required by law. Lens fogging can range from mild annoyance to potentially dangerous (as when driving or cooking). With face masks, fogging occurs on the back of the lenses—right in front of the eyes—meaning it can’t be simply wiped off with the hands but often requires wearers to take off their glasses and clean them. This is not always possible or practical, and the lenses are likely to re-fog as soon as they are put back on. Also, with guidelines and best practices that advise us to avoid touching our faces, we want to limit the amount we touch our glasses, which sit on our faces and close to our eyes as well.
Your patients are looking for anti-fog solutions, and might be trying methods ranging from commercially available products to at-home DIY methods. While DIY methods make good quick hacks, they’re not long-term solutions (and some can even damage lenses). Some popular DIY techniques include:
- Adding a metal strip to the mask: This method is effective when using the right kind of strip; however, pipe cleaners tend to be too weak to be a long-term solution
- Mask tape: Can be an issue for people with allergies and oily skin
- Soapy water: Usually only works for about an hour at a time—but a decent solution for short jaunts to the grocery store
- Shaving cream, toothpaste, or baby shampoo: These can all cause damage to anti-reflective coatings, and some formulas can even scratch up lenses; not to mention they only provide temporary relief
There are several store-bought anti-fog sprays, but most of them don’t last very long; drops and solutions wear off and require re-application every hour or so. Additionally, even though those temporary wipes and drops are relatively inexpensive, the cost can add up fast due to how often patients need to reapply them.
Essilor® AntiFog AR: a permanent lens solution
Many patients—depending on region, workplace, or other responsibilities—are finding themselves required to wear a mask, and many others are choosing to wear masks to keep themselves and others safe. For our glasses-wearing patients, this can mean foggy lenses unnecessarily restricting their activities with a potentially dangerous impact on vision. Essilor AntiFog AR is a permanent lens solution that doesn’t require wipes or drops to activate the anti-fog treatment.
With an anti-fog coating on the back of the lens, these lenses are designed for everyday use, especially for lens wearers also wearing face masks. The no-glare coating on the front side of the lens gives the same great benefits of an anti-reflective coating, reducing glare, water, and smudges, and making these glasses easy to clean. Essilor AntiFog AR is available with Airwear® polycarbonate lenses and in a wide variety of designs including Varilux®, the Essilor portfolio of progressive lenses, Eyezen® and single vision lenses.
These lenses are a fantastic solution for patients bothered by fog on lenses due to wearing face masks, as most of the fogging occurs on the backside of the lenses.
How to talk about fogging lenses in the exam lane
Just like you would talk to patients about their occupation and hobbies to understand their lens needs, asking about fog and how that is impacting them should be no different.
In fact, discussing the annoyance of fogging lenses with mask usage is simple. Any patient who presents to your office while wearing a mask and their glasses likely will present with fogged lenses upon entering your exam room. This is a perfect opportunity to discuss this issue with patients and present a solution.
Why this is good for practices and patients
Incorporating Essilor AntiFog AR into your lens offer is an easy way to solve a frustrating issue impacting many patients at a time when there aren’t many other viable solutions. Providing them with a lens to solve their problem, just like you would prescribe glasses or lenses for a hobby or other specific need, not only increases patient satisfaction, but can strengthen your practice through word-of-mouth referrals from happy patients.
Here’s an easy way to incorporate Essilor Anti-Fog AR into your workflow.
Ms. Jones, I understand that your glasses keep getting fogged up when you are wearing a mask. Right now, this is really common and everyone has been complaining about it, but there are lenses now that are specifically designed to prevent fogging from wearing a mask! Not only will they prevent the backside of your lenses from fogging up, but they also have an anti-reflective treatment on the front surface to help cut down on glare and give you clear, comfortable vision.
Don’t let the discussion around foggy lenses start and stop with mask wear
When talking to your patients about lens fogging with mask wear, you should use this as an opportunity to probe deeper and understand if fog is an issue that presents in other situations because of their specific lifestyle or work environment. Ask them what their days look like, and if anything about their current lenses is less than ideal.
Here’s my script:
Ms. Jones, I know that your glasses have been fogging up while wearing these masks recently and we’ll get that problem solved for you with some new lenses, but I was wondering if there are other situations or moments when your lenses seem to fog up, even when you aren’t wearing a mask?
You would be surprised what you might uncover. Many patients think fogging lenses are a normal part of being a glasses wearer. Those patients often work in certain environments that cause front surface fog, like kitchens, variable temperature environments, or other situations like exercising.
Use this as an opportunity to provide additional solutions or at the very least, information for your patients.
Ms. Jones, thanks for telling me about how annoying you find it when your glasses steam up when you’re jogging. I know it can be a hassle to feel like you have to stop what you’re doing to take off your glasses to clean them. There are actually some other lens options that are specifically designed to address issues like this. These lenses come in a variety of options and coupled with no-glare treatment, they drastically reduce lens fogging from everyday activities like exercise, cooking, or going from cold to warm environments.
What are these other solutions? Optifog®
Launched in 2011, Optifog® is a premium no-glare lens with an anti-fog topcoat on both sides of the lens. The no-glare coating reduces glare, scratches, and dust, while the anti-fog topcoat means that lifestyle or professional activities like skiing, cooking, or weather conditions don’t fog up the lens. Optifog lenses come with four Optifog Smart Textiles which are used to activate the anti-fog topcoat of the lens. OptiFog is available with all lens materials (1.50 plastic, Airwear® polycarbonate, Thin & Lite® 1.67 and 1.74 lenses) and designs including Varilux®, Essilor progressive lenses, Eyezen® and single vision lenses.
While the Essilor Anti-Fog AR lens might be the best choice for everyday mask wear, Optifog is a great solution for those other scenarios where patients encounter fogging.
Furthermore, giving patients multiple options is a great way to build up your fog solution business. You’ll have the potential to not only drive sales, but offer opportunities for patient education, problem-solving, and patient satisfaction.
How can I get Essilor AntiFog AR lenses?
Patients can visit their eye care provider and ask specifically for Essilor AntiFog AR lenses for mask wear and OptiFog for those other fog-inducing situations.
Eye care professions (ECPs) can contact their Essilor Account Executive or visit EssilorPRO.com for more information to share with patients.
Masks may be a standard accessory for the present and perhaps into the future, so it is important to offer your patients the latest in lens technology and help minimize the frustration of fogging lenses.