Lens Care Info

Lens Defogging, Lens Care, and Lens Types

Moisture chamber glasses, including sport goggles used as moisture chamber goggles, create a moist chamber around each of your eyes. This reduces dry eye pain but can interfere with vision if the lenses fog up. In addition, wearing moisture chamber goggles can put you at risk for an eye infection and can intensify an allergic response unless you keep the glasses or goggles sterile. (If you have eye allergies, see also the Allergic Eye Tips page.)

In order to use moisture chamber glasses or goggles successfully, you need to understand the topics described in each of the following sub-sections:

Warning!     The information on this page is incomplete and, by the time you read this page, it might be out-of-date. To avoid ruining your goggles, ask the advice of your optometrist or optician before you use any of the information on this page. Please see the Disclaimer below.

How to prevent lens fogging

Some people can see very clearly when using a defogging method while wearing goggles. Others have more trouble getting defogging to work effectively.

Warning!     Do NOT wear moisture chamber glasses or goggles while driving or during any other dangerous activity unless you are absolutely certain that defogging works perfectly for you 100% of the time.

The following table describes defogging options.

Anti-fogging Method Description
Do nothing

(if necessary, wait a few minutes)
Some people can use moisture chamber glasses or moisture chamber goggles as is, without using any defogging method. If your glasses or goggles fog up initially when you first put them on, try waiting for 5 minutes (drink a cup of tea or put your feet up and listen to the radio). If your're lucky, the glasses or goggles might defog on their own after a few minutes.
Anti-fogging sprays

(might hurt your eyes)
If you have only mild dry eyes and do not have eye allergies, you might be able to use a commericial anti-fogging spray to prevent fogging of your moisture chamber glasses or goggles. Some opticians and some sporting goods stores carry an anti-fogging spray.
Caution     Be careful not to get the spray in your eyes. Even if you are not allergic to the spray, your dry eyes might not be physically able to wash out the spray.
Unisol 4 saline solution

(preservative free)
If you have allergic eyes and/or severely dry eyes, using an anti-fogging spray can harm your eyes. A relatively inexpensive defogging method that works for some lenses is to squirt some Unisol 4 preservative-free saline solution onto your lenses:
  1. Wash your hands using baking soda (not baking powder) or fragrance-free soap. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Wash the glasses or goggles using baking soda (not baking powder) or a mild fragrance-free soap (see How to keep glasses or goggles clean).
  3. Squirt a couple of drops of preservative-free Unisol 4 saline solution onto the inner surface of each lens, and then wipe the saline solution over each lens.
    Tips!     You can find "Unisol 4 Preservative-free pH-Balanced Saline Solution" at many grocery or drug stores or at MedShopExpress.com or at Drugstore.com.
    • Because Unisol 4 saline solution is preservative-free, you must keep it refrigerated.
    • Even when kept refrigerated at all times, be sure to discard an opened bottle after using it for a week even if it is not empty.
    • Use only enough saline solution to get the surface of the lens wet — do not use so much saline solution that you can "slosh" it into your eyes or you might risk getting an eye infection.
    • When you are not near a refrigerator, do not use a non-refrigerated unpreserved saline solution to defog your lenses. Use single-use Refresch Lubricant Eye Drops (described next) instead.
  4. Quickly put on the goggles or glasses, before the saline solution can evaporate.

It is not easy to predict which lenses can or cannot be defogged by using saline solution. For example, although the Gator and Hilco swimming goggles look very similar, you cannot use a saline solution to defog the Gator goggle that we tested (you must use Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops instead), but you can use either saline or Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops to defog the Hilco goggle that we tested.

Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops

(artificial tears that contain methylcellulose, such as Refresh Plus, will NOT work)
If you have allergic eyes and/or severely dry eyes, using an anti-fogging spray can harm your eyes. A more expensive defogging method that works for many types of lenses is to squirt the single-use artificial tear Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops onto your lenses:
  1. Wash your hands using baking soda (not baking powder) or fragrance-free soap. Rinse thoroughly.
  2. Wash the glasses or goggles using baking soda (not baking powder) or a mild fragrance-free soap (see How to keep glasses or goggles clean).
  3. Squirt a couple of drops of sterile preservative-free artificial tears that do NOT contain methylcellulose, such as Allergan Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops, from a single-use container onto the inner surface of each lens, and then wipe the tears over each lens.
    Tips!     You can find Allergan Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops at many grocery or drug stores or at MedShopExpress.com or at Drugstore.com. Note that Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops is a different product than Refresh Plus, which contains methylcellulose. (Eyedrops that contain methylcellulose cannot be used to defog lenses.)
    • To help keep unopened single-use artificial tear containers sterile when you leave home, put them in a clean sandwich bag.
    • To help keep an opened single-use artificial tear container sterile, use 99% rubbing alcohol to clean an empty pill bottle and carry the opened artificial tear container in that. Make sure that the rubbing alcohol is dry before you close the container lid!
  4. Quickly put on the goggles or glasses, before the artificial tears can evaporate.

Tip!   If you wear moisture chamber glasses rather than goggles, you might need to use an elastic band (available from an optician) to pull the glasses towards your face so that they fit snugly against your face. Using the elastic will help prevent the artificial tears from evaporating.

How to keep glasses or goggles clean

Caring for moisture chamber glasses or goggles requires time and effort, especially for people who are prone to eye infectons or sties and for people with eye allergies.

Important!   Because moisture chamber glasses and goggles seal to your face, it is critical that you clean them before you first put them on each day, and then clean them again several times a day. Keeping the glasses/goggles clean will help prevent eye infection and, if you have allergies, will help avoid intensifying a reaction to eye allergens that inevitably get on the glasses in the course of the day.

You must clean goggles that come apart into pieces (such as Barz multi-purpose sport goggles or Gator, Hilco, or AquaSpecs swimming goggles) extra carefully when you first buy them. You must take them apart and clean each of the pieces. This is especially important if you have eye allergies. For example, when you first buy the goggles, was the optician who put them together wearing hand lotion? If so, you could have an allergic reaction to the goggles shortly after you put them on.

Tips!  
  • The only sterile way to clean goggles that come apart into pieces is to take them apart and clean each of the pieces. Be sure to dry the pieces completely before reassembling the goggles. Do this at least once a day.
  • Clean your goggles at a time when you are not in a hurry. It takes time and patience to successfully put either Barz or AquaSpecs goggles back together after taking them apart and cleaning them. Gator and Hilco goggles are easier to manage.
  • Carry baking soda (in a clean container with a tight or screw-on lid) and lint-free tissues with you wherever you go in a purse or briefecase in case you need to clean the goggles while at work or unexpectedly while you are away from home.
  • Carry a spare pair of goggles with you whenever you are away from home in case the ones you usually wear break (for example, the nosepiece or strap on some swimming goggles might eventually break).

Cleaning Method How To Clean the Glasses or Goggles
Warning! Before you try any of these cleaning methods, first ask your optometrist or optician if the method you want to try might damage your lenses. Lens and lens coating technology is changing rapidly, and DryEyePain does not know whether any of these methods might ruin your lenses.
DryEyePain takes no responsibility for any damage that you might cause your lenses by trying to clean them.

We've had trouble at times damaging some of the lenses ourselves — hopefully, technology improvements will soon provide better lenses and lens coatings that are less easily scratched.

Ask your optician or optometrist how to clean your lenses safely without damaging them.
Daily cleaning —
for goggles that come apart into pieces
  1. Wash your hands, using either baking soda (not baking powder) or fragrance-free soap. Baking soda rinses off more easily and thoroughly than soap and is good at removing allergens.
  2. Wash a bowl, using either baking soda or fragrance-free soap. Preferably, use a glass or a stainless steel bowl and keep this bowl separate from your other dishware and use it only for washing goggles.
  3. Take the goggles apart.
  4. Fill the pan with clean water (distilled water is good), add baking soda or fragrance-free soap to the water, and make sure that the baking soda or soap is dissolved. Put the pieces of the goggles (the frame, the side shields, and the lenses) into the pan and swish them around.
    Caution   Be aware that cleaning the lenses frequently, as you must to do avoid the possiblity of eye infection (or an allergic reaction) will remove some types of anti-fogging coating. If you remove the anti-fogging coating, you might need to use single-use artificial tears method to defog the lenses.
  5. Take the pieces out of the pan and set them aside on clean paper towels to dry. To help them dry faster, gently pat them with lint-free tissues or with a clean 100% cotton handkerchief (do not rub the lenses or you will damage them).
  6. After all parts are completely dry, wash your hands, and then put the goggles back together.

If you have sensitive eyes or encounter any allergens during the day, you might need to clean your goggles — especially goggles that come apart into pieces — several times a day.

Daily cleaning —
PanOptx goggles

PanOptx suggests dipping the goggles in a clean bowl of water to clean them and then air-drying them. However, if you have severe dry eyes or eye allergies, this method — which uses no cleaning agent — is not safe for your eyes and leaves you vulnerable to eye infections or allergic reactions.

A more sterile method:

  1. Wash a bowl, fill it with distilled water (or clean warm — not hot — tap water), and then add about a tablespoon of baking soda (not baking powder). Make sure that the baking soda is dissolved.
  2. Dip the goggles into the bowl and swish them around.
  3. Empty the bowl, refill it with distilled water, and then rinse the goggles in the fresh distilled water.
  4. To avoid damaging the lenses, PanOptx recommends that you air-dry the goggles.
Daily cleaning —
Most non-PanOptx goggles
  1. Wet the goggles under lukewarm (not hot) tap water. (Hot water can ruin the inner surface of some lenses by causing the defogging coating to congeal.)
  2. Sprinkle the glasses or goggles liberally with baking soda (or apply a little fragrance-free soap) Do NOT scrub the lenses or you will damage them.
  3. Rinse thoroughly.
  4. To avoid damaging the lenses, either air-dry the goggles, or use lint-free tissues or a clean 100% cotton handkerchiefto pat (do not rub) them dry. If you rub the lenses with these tissues, you will damage them.
Zeiss Pre-Moistened Cloths

Ask your optician or optometrist if you can use the non-abrasive, ammonia-free Zeiss Pre-Moistened Lens Cloths to safely clean your lenses. If you can, these single-use cloths can be handy, especially if you need to clean your goggles and don't have access to a sink. According to information printed on the box, these cloths safely clean "any lens," including prescription eyeglasses and sun and sport lenses.

Caution!     Before you use a Zeiss or any other pre-moistened cloth on any lens, check with the person from whom you bought your goggles or check with the manufacturer — some moistening chemicals can damage some types of lenses. If you do use pre-moistened cloths, be sure to blow off any solid matter from the lens surface first, and then pat them dry very gently (do not rub).

You can find a vendor who sells Zeiss Pre-Moistened Cloths (or another type of pre-moistened cloth) by searching Google.com.

Reusable Lens Cleaning Cloth

Ask your optician or optometrist if you can use, for example, the reusable 3M Lens Cleaning Cloth on your goggles without scratching your lenses. Possible sources for these cloths include DrugStore.com or BassPro.com (search for "lens cleaning cloth"). Or search for "reusable lens cleaning cloth" on Google.com.

Caution     If you have eye allergies or have frequent eye infections, reusing a cloth that is not clean might be harmful to your eyes. 3M lens cleaning cloths are washable, so consider buying seven cloths so that you can use a clean cloth each day, and then wash all of them once a week.
100% Cotton Handkerchiefs

An inexpensive option is to buy a supply of 100% cotton men's handkerchiefs to use to dry your moisture chamber glasses or goggles. If you have eye allergies or are susceptible to eye infections, buy 20 or 30 of them and be sure to use a clean one each time you dry newly washed glasses or goggles.

How to store or transport glasses and goggles

To store or transport moisture chamber glasses or goggles safely, buy an approximately 7" by 7" plastic box (such as Rubbermaid or Tupperware) at the grocery store. Clean it with baking soda, fragrance-free soap, or 99% rubbing alcohol each time before using it.

Alternatively, the inexpensive Kaiman goggles or Seal XP goggles often come with a hard-plastic carrying case. You can also use one of these cases (after cleaning it) to carry small prescription goggles, such as PanOptx, Gator, or Hilco.

Do not carry moisture chamber glasses or goggles in a container with a felt or other cloth liner. Use only containers that you can clean inside and out.

Carry baking soda (in a clean container with a tight or screw-on lid) and lint-free tissues with you wherever you go in a purse or briefecase in case you need to clean the goggles at work or unexpectedly while you are away from home.

Types of lenses

As described in the following table, the type of lenses used and the types of coatings applied to the lenses can make it difficult or impossible to defog the lenses.

Note     By the time you read this, this information might be out-of-date. Check with your optometrist or optician for current information.

Lens Issues How Is Defogging Affected?
CR-39 lenses
Probably
In most cases, CR-39 lenses are the easiest to defog.
High-index glass or high-index plastic lenses
Maybe...
If you have a high prescription (severe myopia), you might need high index lenses because they are relatively thin. You can also usually (though not always) successfully defog these lenses. High index lenses are more expensive than CR-39 or polycarbonate lenses.
Polycarbonate lenses
Maybe...
Polycarbonate lenses — the type that most optometrists or opticians order — are sometimes difficult to defog. This probably depends on the type of coatings used.
Lens Coatings

Some coatings interfere with defogging!
Coatings, such as an anti-reflective coating which is water repellent, can impair the ability of artificial tears to keep your lenses defogged. In addition, defogging chemicals permanently applied to the lenses can also interfere with defogging lenses if you use the defogging method that DryEyePain recommends (see How to prevent lens fogging, described earlier).
  • Ask your optometrist or optician if it is feasible to omit putting any coatings on your lenses.
  • Be aware that lenses with a chemical defogging coating on the lens might lose the coating if you wash the lenses several times every day — as you should do to avoid eye infections or allergic reactions. Losing the coating might be ok if you use Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops (not Refresh Plus, which won't work) to defog your lenses.
  • Be aware that some chemical defogging coatings applied to the lenses do not come off at all, but can damage the lens if you try to remove them. For example, if the lenses are cleaned with a solvent such as rubbing alcohol or if cleaned in very hot water, these coatings might congeal on the surface of the lens in such a way as to ruin visual acuity.

Be proactive!   If you don't ask about the type of lens to order and about any possible lens coatings, most optometrists or opticians will order polycarbonate lenses and the lens coatings that they are used to ordering without discussing the issue with you.

  1. Ask the optometrist or optician about the feasibility of using CR-39 or high index lenses rather than polycarbonate.
  2. Ask the optometrist or optician if you can test a lens of the same type and with the same coatings as the lenses that you plan to order. Squirt the lens with Refresh Lubricant Eye Drops (not Refresh Plus), or sprinkle it with plain water. If the artificial tears or the water does not spread evenly over the lens, then you will probably not be able to defog the lens.
DISCLAIMER: Do not use any tip described on these pages without first consulting your physician.
All content on this Web site is for informational purposes only; it is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment; and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published on this Web site is not intended to replace, supplant, or augment a consultation with an eye care professional regarding the user's/viewer's medical care. Every effort has been made to present accurate and safe information, but the creator of the Web site is not a health care professional, does not warrant the correctness of the information, and is not liable for any direct or consequential injury or other damages that could result from the use of the information obtained from this site. Products are mentioned as examples only. No mention of a product constitutes an endorsement for that product; other products might be successfully used for dry eye and other conditions described here. It is not the intent of this Web site to promote any eye care products, procedures, or medications.