The Pros and Cons of Oxygen Therapy Glasses

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Oxygen therapy glasses are specially-designed frames that feature a built-in nasal cannula, providing an alternative to the facial tubes typically used with an oxygen machine. Though they are an optional medical device, oxygen therapy glasses can be a game-changer for those who regularly use oxygen therapy, such as those living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other lung conditions.

Oxygen therapy has been found to extend survival and improve quality of life in these individuals. But being tied to oxygen has also been associated with problems ranging from low self-esteem to social isolation. Since oxygen therapy glasses make using the treatment far less cumbersome than normal, they may improve patients' quality of life.

Key Features

Many people with COPD and other lung diseases have been looking for methods that can allow them to get the oxygen they need in a less conspicuous manner. Oxygen therapy glasses, such as Oxy-View, provide an alternative to the traditional—and highly visible—nasal cannula oxygen therapy delivery.

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, including liquid oxygen, gas cylinders, concentrators, and most oxygen-conserving devices
  • Camouflaged oxygen cannula allows both freedom of movement and improved self-confidence
  • Compatible with most prescription and sunglasses lenses

Advantages

For those who require glasses, there are many advantages to choosing a pair of oxygen therapy glasses over traditional methods of wearing oxygen devices, namely that the oxygen tubes are connected to the glasses frame arms and fall behind the back of the head. Oxygen runs through the metal frame arms and extends into a pair of nasal prongs attached to the bridge of the glasses frame, delivering oxygen directly into the nasal passages (nares).

Because there is no tubing that goes across the face and over the ears, as with a traditional nasal cannula, this may be of great benefit to people with COPD, who often suffer from pressure sores where their oxygen tubing touches the face.

The glasses can be surprisingly comfortable while at the same time improving freedom of movement. There may also be less drying of the nasal passages than with a traditional cannula.

Additional pros include that they are:

  • No more uncomfortable than a cannula in your nose, across your face or over your ears
  • Come in a variety of unisex styles and colors
  • Easy to assemble
  • Available with both single and double lumen tubing
  • Easily fitted with replacement parts such as nasal prongs and tubing which can be purchased separately.

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 $245, and prescription lenses, nasal prongs, and tubing must be purchased separately. While some vision insurance plans may cover oxygen therapy glasses frames and prescription lenses, they aren't currently covered by Medicare.

Other Considerations

Anytime you change your oxygen delivery system, you'll need to have your oxygen levels rechecked by your physician at times of rest and activity to make sure that your oxygen saturation levels are consistently normal. This especially applies to oxygen therapy glasses.

Many people who are oxygen-dependent may find this product beneficial, but if you don't regularly wear eyeglasses or don't like wearing eyeglasses, you may find these more uncomfortable than your traditional nasal cannula.

A Word From Verywell

Relying on supplemental oxygen therapy can be a major lifestyle change, one that many people aren't ready for. If you find yourself feeling like you don't want to leave the comfort of your own home or fear having to explain why you are receiving oxygen to curious strangers, oxygen therapy glasses may prove a helpful solution that'll allow you a bit more freedom and confidence. Talk to your physician to determine if oxygen glasses would be a good fit for you.

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