The Pros and Cons of Oxygen Therapy Glasses

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Oxygen therapy glasses are an option for many people who 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. For example, they may be uncomfortable when they go out in public. The specially designed frames of oxygen therapy glasses offer a solution.

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

What to Know About Oxygen Therapy Glasses - Illustration by Julie Bang

Verywell / Julie Bang

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.

When people use oxygen therapy glasses, the oxygen tubes connect to the frame arms on the glasses. The tubing falls behind the back of the head. Oxygen runs through the metal frame arms and into 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 you need.

Keep in mind that you can choose oxygen therapy glasses even if you don't need to have your vision corrected. The glasses will work to deliver oxygen with clear lenses.


The benefits of oxygen therapy glasses go beyond appearance, including:

  • Provide oxygen therapy, up to 5 liters per minute, without the nasal cannula
  • Work with all types of oxygen delivery systems, including liquid oxygen, gas cylinders, concentrators, and most oxygen-conserving devices
  • Allow for more freedom of movement and improved self-confidence
  • Compatible with most prescription and sunglass lenses
  • Typically more comfortable than tubing draped on your nose, face, or ears
  • Sold in a variety of unisex styles and colors
  • Easy to connect
  • Available with both single and double lumen tubing
  • Easily fitted with replacement parts that can be purchased separately
  • Less drying of the nasal passages than with a traditional cannula
  • Fewer pressure sores. 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.


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. Apart from the cost of frames, some of the other drawbacks include:

  • 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 medical oxygen therapy expenses that currently are covered by Medicare.
  • You'll probably still need a traditional cannula for times when you don't wear glasses, such as sleep.
  • If you change your oxygen concentrator or other delivery device, 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.
  • 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.


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.

While oxygen therapy is vital treatment, some people may be 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.

By Deborah Leader, RN
 Deborah Leader RN, PHN, is a registered nurse and medical writer who focuses on COPD.