The Pros and Cons of Oxygen Therapy Glasses

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Many people need to use oxygen to support their breathing. This is common among people with lung diseases, such as emphysema and other COPD illnesses. Oxygen therapy has been found to extend survival and improve quality of life in these individuals.

At the same time, some people find that being tied to their oxygen tubes will create a set of new problems. They may be uncomfortable when they go out in public, which can lead to low self-esteem and social isolation. That's because of the plastic tubes on their face, which are needed to keep them connected to an oxygen source. One solution may be the use of oxygen therapy glasses.

This article explains what these glasses are and how they work. It also looks at why the glasses can be a game-changer, and improve quality of life for people who regularly use oxygen therapy.

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Key Features

Many people with COPD and other lung diseases have been looking for ways to get the oxygen they need in a less obvious manner. Oxygen therapy glasses, such as Oxy-View, provide an alternative to the highly visible plastic tubing, called nasal cannula, that is usually used to deliver oxygen.

Oxygen therapy glasses offer the following benefits:

  • Provide oxygen therapy, up to 5 liters per minute, without the nasal cannula
  • Work with all types of oxygen delivery systems. These include liquid oxygen, gas cylinders, concentrators, and most oxygen-conserving devices
  • Allows for more freedom of movement and improved self-confidence
  • Compatible with most prescription and sunglass lenses

Advantages

When people use oxygen therapy glasses, the oxygen tubes connect to the frame arms on the glasses. The tubing then falls behind the back of the head. Oxygen runs through the metal frame arms and extends into a pair of prongs that go into the nose. They attach to the nose bridge of the eyeglass frames, and deliver oxygen directly into the nasal passages (nares).

The frames on oxygen therapy glasses are specially designed so that the plastic oxygen tubing is built into them. This is a more subtle way to get the oxygen they need.

The benefits go beyond appearance, though. Because there is no tubing that goes across the face and over the ears, people who are on long-term oxygen therapy can avoid the pain of pressure sores. These sores can happen when the oxygen tubing touches the skin. There may also be less drying of the nasal passages than with a traditional cannula.

The glasses can be surprisingly comfortable while at the same time improving freedom of movement. Other benefits arise because the glasses are:

  • No more uncomfortable than tubing draped on your nose, face, or ears
  • Sold in a variety of unisex styles and colors
  • Easy to assemble
  • Available with both single and double lumen tubing
  • Easily fitted with replacement parts that can be purchased separately.

Recap

Oxygen therapy glasses offer an alternative to the traditional plastic tubing, called nasal cannula, that usually drapes across the face to deliver oxygen. These glasses have the tubing built right into them. Some people may feel more confident about how they look when using oxygen therapy glasses. The glasses also may keep plastic tubing from rubbing against the skin and causing painful sores.

Costs and Insurance

Oxygen therapy glasses are listed as a Class 1 medical device and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The frames cost around $240.

Prescription lenses, nasal prongs, and tubing all are sold separately. Some vision insurance plans may cover oxygen therapy frames and prescription lenses. However, they are not among the many oxygen therapy expenses that currently are covered by Medicare.

Other Considerations

If you change your oxygen delivery system, you'll need to have your oxygen levels rechecked by your healthcare provider. This will be done both while you're at rest and while you're active, to make sure that your oxygen levels are consistent and stay normal. This especially applies to oxygen therapy glasses.

Many people who use oxygen may find this product beneficial. But if you don't normally wear eyeglasses, or just don't like wearing them, you may find oxygen therapy glasses more uncomfortable than your nasal cannula.

Summary

Oxygen therapy helps many people who have breathing problems because of lung disease. It helps people to deal with COPD and other illnesses, and may improve quality of life. Usually, this oxygen flows through plastic tubing that begins at the oxygen source and ends just inside a person's nose.

It helps, but some people are quite self-conscious about how the oxygen tubing looks. That's especially true if using oxygen is new and you haven't yet come to terms with how it looks and feels. Oxygen therapy glasses may be just the answer for you to get the oxygen you need in a more subtle way.

A Word From Verywell

Oxygen therapy can be a major lifestyle change, one that many people aren't ready for. You may feel like you don't want to leave the comfort of your own home, or fear having to explain your oxygen support to curious strangers. Oxygen therapy glasses may prove a helpful solution to allow you a bit more freedom and confidence. Talk to your healthcare provider to learn if oxygen glasses would be a good fit for you.

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