Wearing a face mask is one of the many important things you can do to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
However, face masks also have the potential to impair your vision. That’s because face masks can block your lower peripheral (side) vision, especially if you wear glasses.
Your lower peripheral vision is important because it helps guide you when you walk and helps to prevent you from tripping or falling over.
A fall can be dangerous no matter your age, but is more likely to cause injury in people over 55 years of age.
Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of falling while wearing a face mask:
1. Slow down
Walk slowly and carefully, try not to rush or run as this increases your risk of falling over. If you’re indoors, make sure there aren’t any hazards lying around on the floor that you may trip over.
2. Ensure a snug fit
Check your mask fits snugly around your nose, cheeks and mouth to reduce any obstruction to your vision. This also helps reduce the likelihood of your glasses fogging up, which makes it difficult to see anything at all.
3. Reduce fogging
As well as making sure your mask fits snugly to reduce fogging, there’s another trick you can try. Wash your glasses with soapy water and shake off the excess water. Then, let them air dry or gently dry the lenses with a soft tissue. This should help prevent your glasses fogging up. If you have contact lenses, they are a good alternative as they don’t fog up.
4. Don’t look down
Research shows you are more likely to make stepping errors if you look at your feet instead of looking ahead. It is thought that looking down may impair stability by disrupting the finely tuned system through which vision is used to maintain walking safety.