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Dealing with Glasses During a Match

Q. “I am an older player and have to wear eyeglasses in order to see well. How can I keep my eyeglasses perspiration- and condensation-free while playing?”

From Phil, Briarcliff Manor, NY

I am an older player with glasses too. It seems you play in an environment which is humid to begin with. Your glasses will fog up more often than in the open air with low humidity, especially if you are really sweating a lot. First, have a towel handy to wipe your brow, face, neck and even hair down often. Hang it somewhere close on your side of the court for easy access. In between points use a wrist band to wipe the sweat off, or carry a small towel tucked into your waist band. Second, clean you glasses meticulously before the match. At change over, clean them if needed with another towel than what you use to wipe yourself off, or like I do, the ends of the towel (I use the middle of the towel to wipe off with). If it’s condensation you have problems with and not sweat, try anti-fog wipes like skiers use on their goggles.


I also play with glasses. I had a special sports style of heavy duty eye glass made up from my prescription. If you play in cooler weather, the warm breath will fog up your glasses. Living in Arizona, I no longer have that problem except for a few cool nights. What might work is to warm up your frames before playing. I used to have a cleaning cloth in my pocket too that I used while I was on court. Good luck.

From Howard L.

If you have a local dive shop, buy some of their dive mask cleaner. It’s made for wet environments and helps keep the condensation from forming on your glasses on a humid day or night. It’s not perfect but it works as good as anything I’ve tried.

From Barry, Darien, CT

This works for me, and I hope it works for you too.

I clean my glasses with an anti-fog cleaner, and I wear a ‘dri’-hat.

I carry 6 hats with me, and the hats help keep my head cool and absorb some of the sweat.

I switch to a new dry hat whenever needed.

I find I rarely sweat on my lenses anymore, and I play some marathon tennis sessions on Friday nights.

From Charlie D., Jacksonville, FL

Wal-Mart optical dept. sells a thin lens that has an anti-scratch, anti-glare, anti-dirt and fog-free coating for their lenses. I live in Jacksonville, Fla. ( rains a lot and is very humid!) and the lenses work well for me. I believe they also sell an anti-fog solution to wipe on your glasses also.

From Byron B., Austin, TX

As a fellow bespectacled player I can surely sympathize with your problem. I always keep a few folded-up paper towels in my right pocket to wipe off those distracting little dots and drops of sweat between points. Sometimes an opponent will consider this a delaying tactic so I try to do the wipe-down very quickly and only when absolutely necessary. Many players walk to the back fence to towel off or straighten their racket strings as part of their routine between points. Due to the time limits I wipe off my glasses instead. Unfortunately, during long summertime rallies you occasionally can’t help but to swing at a bead of perspiration instead of the ball. On the positive side, you always have a good excuse for the dreaded whiff.

From Nedra P., Henderson, NV

I had that problem with sunglasses til I started wearing a headband. It catches all the “head sweat” and I hardly even need a towel any more.

From Lindy L., Bensalem, PA

In order to solve the perspiration problem, wear a sweat band or visor. These help to absorb the sweat so it doesn’t run down your glasses, and also has the added benefit of holding the glasses more securely in place. As for condensation, you will need to wipe them off at changeovers and use a towel or the end of your cotton shirt (the drifit materials do not work).

From Steve C., Rockledge, FL

I had the same problem. Now I always wear a stretch headband even while wearing a hat. It effectively keeps sweat off of my glasses. Condensation is a problem that I haven’t solved if the humidity is really high, however even here in humid Florida it is seldom a problem except very early in the morning before the sun burns it off.

From Dennis N., Vista, CA

Go to your local scuba or diving shop and ask for some glycerin gel that is used for diving masks and that will work.

From Gary S., Phoenix, AZ

No problem with sweat on my glasses but what about weather bifocals and contact lenses? I have asked a few people and no one seems to agree which is the best for playing tennis. One guy just uses distance correction in place of his bifocals. I appreciate the opportunity to hear from our USTA community.

From Dick, Duluth, MN

Get Lasik done... just kidding. I used to wear glasses and had the same problem. I’ve found some products that work well that I use for other activities, and I’m sure you can find some on a Web search. I snowmobile and downhill ski and it is always a subject of consideration. I’ve picked up several brands of anti-fog/cleaner pastes and sprays at bike/snowmobile/ski shows. What I’ve found is it is only a temporary fix because it needs re-applications every once in a while. Try this stuff: “Cat Crap” is a funny name, but has good results from most who have tried it and comes in a small container which is easy to keep handy... I use a micro-fiber cloth to apply. I have tried a few brands that haven’t worked as well, too. Some sprays are not as effective, like Vari-clear. Stay away from heavy polishes if you have coated lenses – they will remove the coating if the polish is too harsh.

Plastic lenses are so easily scratched, so be careful if you wear them. Never use paper to apply anything to them.

Some of my fellow bus drivers use the “rain X indoor” to help the inside windows, they like it, might work OK, but I haven’t personally verified how effective it is.

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