Last week in this space I put out an SOS.
I said that although I'm dedicated to wearing a mask in public during the pandemic, foggy eyeglasses are wearing me out. Every time I put on a mask, my glasses look like I've smeared them with Crisco.
Apparently, I'm not alone. As soon as I woke up Sunday morning, messages from readers started piling up in my inbox.
Bill wrote: "Finally! Someone is getting this subject out in the open. All I can offer is that it's going to be worse when cold weather arrives. I'll be very interested in what you hear from your readers on this aggravating issue!"
Included in Bill's note was the website of a lens company that he thought might be helpful. I checked it out and there was a news release on how to disinfect your glasses and another on how to prevent laptop eye fatigue, but nothing on fog. Drat!
Meanwhile, Marcia, of Sewanee, Tennessee, wrote: "Hey Mark, go to a dive shop and get some anti-fog solution. Works on a dive mask, so maybe it will help."
Steve, in Harrison, agreed: "As a lifelong skin diver, I can tell you a foggy mask is a frequent and frustrating problem. In the 'old days,' we would spit in the mask and rinse. If this worked at all it was short-lived. The most effective anti-fog product can be purchased in any dive shop."
Well, Marcia and Steve, I checked with Chris Snowden of Choo Choo Diving & Aquatic Center on Powers Court in Chattanooga, and he says that his store carries a product called SeaVue that works well for mask fog. In fact, Snowden says Chattanooga health professionals have begun shopping for SeaVue. It comes in a pump spray bottle and sells for $7.99 plus tax.
Also, under the heading of "super duper scuba solutions" comes this simple hack from Pam S.: "Hi Mark: As a former scuba diver, let me share the way we prevent our masks from fogging. Use baby shampoo on your lenses. With a scuba mask, we put a couple of drops on each inside lens. Put just enough water to make a little suds. Rub, then use enough water to barely rinse it out. After that, it's all clear! Worth a try on your eyeglasses. (Air dry, don't rub dry.)"
Meanwhile, Hamp, of Chattanooga, thinks that experimenting with mask types might be a good idea: "I have found that the 'gaiter' neck mask is better than an ear loop mask for preventing glasses fogging up. Better, but still not perfect."
Thanks, Hamp. My 18-year-old son has one of those. For some reason, those masks look a little more porous to me. But I'll give it a try.
Debbie D. and several other readers suggested using a folded tissue under your mask as breath buffer to reduce fog.
Debbie D. wrote: "I can't take credit for this; it came from my eye doctor during an exam, and it works! Put your mask on. Take a tissue and fold it over and over until it is about 4 inches long; it will be a little thick. Place it right above your nose but under the mask. It works beautifully! Good luck!"
Meanwhile, another reader, Debbie B. suggests that adjusting your mask is also important, especially if using a mask with a bendable metal nose strip.
Debbie B. writes: "When your glasses fog up when you wear a mask, it means that you do not have the metal at the nose piece pinched tight enough and you do not have your mask pulled tight enough across your cheeks. (Think of pictures of doctors and nurses with deep indentations across their nose and cheeks.)"
Meanwhile, Nancy W. writes: "I had the same issue, so I tried tucking my mask snugly under the bottom of my lenses. Problem solved! Hope this works for you."
So, there you have it, some lovely hints to foil the fog.
As a parting thought: I'll leave you with a little jingle from the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that I read in The New York Times this week: "Obey the laws, wear the gauze. Protect your jaws from septic paws."
Email Mark Kennedy at email@example.com.