Mask Missteps

By taking a few minutes to put on your mask correctly, you're helping yourself and those around you.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team, and though they are reviewed for adherence to our guidelines, they are submitted in their final form to our open platform. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Halfpoint Images/ Getty Images
Halfpoint Images/ Getty Images

Who ever thought the glorious and essential PPE equipment we have now so reluctantly welcomed into our fashion ensembles, could ever cause us harm?

As we are getting used to, or more like getting frustrated with, living with variations of these dreaded masks, there has been a curious phenomenon stemming from constant ppe mask usage – people are now getting physically injured because of them.

Whether due to excessive condensation fogging up on your glasses (if you wear them) or loosening from sweat and constant shifting throughout the course of the day, ppe masks are not the most practical fashion accessory.

Recently, we have had an influx of patients injuring their foot/ankles due to falls, reporting of not being able to see properly due to the mask obscuring their depth perception, disorienting them in the process, and causing them to misstep and injure themselves.

Dr. Sandra Belmont, Clinical Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at New York University School of Medicine states that “all medical students are instructed on how to properly wear a procedure or medical face mask but nowadays everyone needs to know how to use them.  There is a top part and a bottom part to the mask.  The top has a wire that runs along its length. Putting the mask on and simply letting it sit on top of one’s eyeglasses, even with the mask right side up will cause the lenses to fog up.  Glasses must be taken off first, then as one loops the elastics over the ears, press down on the wire to bend and adapt it so that it will fit tightly over the bridge of the nose and all along the face.  This will prevent air from leaking through and allow the mask to fit under the eyeglasses so they won’t fog up.”

With liquor stores being one of the only types of ‘essential’ stores being open with the lockdown, this issue has the potential of becoming even more precarious as we enter into some iteration of summer.

Dr. Belmont further adds that “if the mask is not properly positioned and one lens in your eyeglasses gets foggy there will be a loss of stereopsis.  Our brains superimpose the images from our right and left eyes to produce a 3-dimensional image, or stereopsis.  This depth perception allows us to intuitively gauge where to place our feet as we walk up or down a flight of stairs for instance, or step off a curb.  A loss of stereopsis from improper use of a mask can result in a bad fall and possible injury.  This should in no way however, dissuade from public use of face masks in the current pandemic.  

Use of face masks is currently mandated in many places including New York City, so take a few minutes to put on the mask correctly and keep yourself safe. Senior citizens should be particularly careful when wearing masks and walking down stairs as they are at increased risks of balance issues and falls. 

Dr. Rock G. Positano and Dr. Rock CJay Positano are co-directors of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Center at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

Dr. Rock G. Positano is Associate Clinical Professor on the faculty of the Yale School of Public Health.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...


    Becky Vieira: “What’s meant to be is meant to be”

    by Phil Laboon

    Lisa Sun: “There is no light at the end of the tunnel, just skylights along the way”

    by Phil Laboon

    How Fashion Can Still Thrive Even Through The Covid-19 Pandemic

    by Gail Green

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.