How to prevent lens fog with any VR headset

Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR

While today's virtual reality (VR) headsets are more immersive than ever before, a build-up of fog can quickly take you out of the action. With all of today's leading devices sporting a similar design, featuring two lenses in an enclosed space, fog can be an irritating flaw when first jumping to a virtual space. Here's what you need to know about fog in VR, as well as how to prevent it.

Why does fog appear in VR headsets?

Fog buildup is a problem often suffered when using any VR headset, formed as a result of moisture condensing on lenses. Similar to when first using a car on a cold winter's day, fog appears when warmth comes into contact with cooler air and binds fog to the lenses of the headset. With VR headsets, this is caused by your high body temperature condensing moisture onto significantly colder lenses.

Due to the design of many VR headsets, moisture is trapped within this enclosure and can take some time to disappear, especially when your headset has been left untouched for some time ahead of use.

How to prevent lens fog in your headset

In order to reduce lens fog on a VR headset, or eliminate it entirely, you'll need to prepare to prevent its build-up beforehand. Of the most effective fixes involve raising the temperature of your headset, which can be achieved through a range of quick methods. Alternatively, other options are available which don't involve warming up your headset beforehand but still prevent the conditions that allow fog to form.

1. Store your VR headset in a warm location

One of the simplest solutions to lens fog is by storing your VR headset in a warmer environment, closer to body temperature. Although this is entirely dependent on the design of your living space, a higher room temperature will leave your headset consistently warmer – hopefully, closer to that of your body. Obviously, be careful where your headset is stored and avoid extreme conditions.

2. Warm up your VR headset before play

If you're not able to store your VR headset in a warmer place (which especially an issue with tethered PC headsets,) you can alternatively warm up your VR headset in some way before use. Putting the headset on your head for 10 minutes before use can help a lot, which acclimates the lenses to the temperature of your body. Alternatively, we've seen some users try hairdryers or other heating appliances to lightly warm up the headset.

3. Use anti-fog solutions

Various anti-fog solutions are on the market for use with VR headsets, which promise to reduce the fog build up through sprays or wipes. By reducing surface tension, water droplets are spread, reducing the chance of fog building up over time. While some achieve excellent results with these solutions, their effectiveness can vary between different scenarios and brands. We recommend using a solution designed with glasses in mind, rather than solutions used for wet environments.

Over to you

Do you suffer with lens fog in virtual fromity? If so, do you have any tips for eliminating VR lens fog with your headset? If so, make sure to share your tricks with our readers in the comments section.

Essa Kidwell

Essa Kidwell is an expert in all things VR and mobile devices who can always be found with an Oculus Go, a Pixel 2, and an iPhone 7+. They've been taking things apart just to put them back together for quite some time. If you've got a troubleshooting issue with any of your tech, they're the one you want to go to! Find them on Twitter @OriginalSluggo or Instagram @CosmeticChronus.