We have received many questions from medical and healthcare staff who want to protect themselves from contracting CV19 virus through their tear film, which could inevitably infect their respiratory tract. We have put this guide together to help spectacle wearing keyworkers who are concerned about their personal protection.

Firstly, a faceshield worn over spectacles provides excellent protection, despite being 'open'. However, some hospitals haven't had their supply delivered yet and the faceshields are disposable meaning supplies could run short as worldwide demand remains high. Some professionals report they can be tricky to work with because 'everyday' spectacles can touch the inside of the shield resulting in a poor fit of the visor by preventing a close fit and the visor/spectacles can both steam up soon after wearing them. We have heard that some UK hospitals are about to enforce wearing PPE, including eye protection, at all times whilst working on the premises.

Consider the considered spray pattern distances from coughs and sneezes and that your everyday glasses wont protect you from droplets travelling quickly toward you when you are side-on to a patient even if you are 2m away from them. The speed of droplets could mean they reach you before you realise to close your eyes...

So, it's important to decide whether to go sealed/very close fitting, or if it's OK to have standard open safety frames with side protection. Here are some examples of each type  ...


For use when there is high risk of airborne particles. ie aerosol generating tasks like intubating or spending time in an enviroment where there are numerous CV19 positive patients i.e ITU, A&E or CV19 dedicated wards where airborn droplets containing virus are more likely to be present.
Popular OPEN safety frames with side protection

For general use to shield the eyes from walking into airborne particles when moving around hospital wards/departments, or protection from projected particles directly hitting the eye and contaminating the tear film. For example, droplets emitted by an occasional unexpected cough or a sneeze from a patient, giving you time to move away from them to a safe distance whilst other droplets in the 'cough cloud' settle. There is currently conflicting advice as to whether the virus can survive as a true suspended aerosol for very long.

When deciding what material to have, remember you are protecting against airborne fluid particles therefore Standard plastic lenses (if available in that model) will be perfectly appropriate and slightly cheaper. If you intend to use them in dentistry or chiselling bones in an orthopaedic theatre or even at home in the garden / for DIY you must specify Polycarbonate or Trivex lenses which are shatterproof and will provide impact protection against low mass high speed particles. (Note Trivex solvent resistant lenses are only available on Norville safety frames)

Note: Polycarbonate lenses can be affected by solvents including alcohol - don't drench them in alcohol hand sanitiser as this will prolong contact with the lens - use of a single mediswab to wipe them down to disinfect is OK as this will evaporate completely and quickly. Trivex and Standard Plastic lens material are unaffected by alcohol/solvents.


Under 45s generally just need single vision lenses -  Over 45s start to need reading glasses or a different prescription for near than they have for distance - If you need to wear spectacles at all times without taking them on and off consider bifocal lenses (even if you generally just wear readers) or if you are already a varifocal wearer choose varifocals.

Note: for varifocal orders we will have to send you a sample frame of the pair that you ordered. This will go straight out to you (usually next working day - Royal Mail depending) so that we can see it on your face and calculate the lens centres accurately from a photo you provide. This will add a couple of days onto the process but varifocals will not work and vision may be blurred or uncomfortable if they are not measured properly. If URGENCY is an issue we can proceed to manufacture immediately if you choose bifocal vision type instead of varifocals to save a couple of days. You will see distance and near fine in these but will have to contend with a small dividing line on the lens - not a problem for most wearers and works out cheaper.


Anti-reflection coating is available - Note however: this can add 3-4 days on to the manufacturing process

Tints/Photochromic are unecessary indoors and will add 2-3 working days to an order.

Particularly essential for FACE SEALING / CLOSE FITTING safety glasses is an anti-fogging treatment. Also if you are wearing any protective eyewear with a facemask or under a visor, fogging of the lens is often a problem too. We recommend you add Clarity DEFOGit solution  to your order which will prevent your lenses from misting. You can use this on any spectacles, goggles or face visors.

We are here to help with any questions you might have - emails are monitored constantly during daytime and evenings and our telephone is manned during office hours or leave a voice message so we can get straight back to you.

Current orders are taking days rather than weeks to complete for certain manufacturers and priority is being given to Healthcare workers to protect them against this disease.

Thank you for all of the critical work you are doing in keeping the nation safe.

Click on HOME in the menu above to browse and learn more. The Open models shown above are just a few frames from our large range. 

Our website is updated daily with a lab status report and product availability is real time.

David Cross BSc MCOptom - Optometrist

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