Anthony Fauci, MD, White House advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, surprised everyone earlier this month by announcing his support for safety glasses and eye shields. He emphasized the best way to protect against coronavirus is by covering all mucosal surfaces (moist tissue), including the nose, mouth, and eyes. While a cloth face mask covers the first two on the list, it leaves the latter up to chance.
But it’s not a space to skimp: Research published in the Lancet concluded people without eye protection are three times more likely to contract COVID-19 than those with it. And although unlikely, there are also case reports of people contracting the virus due to lack of eye protection. In fact, Geoffrey Leung, MD, ambulatory medical director for Riverside University Health System in California, previously told Health that goggles could help reduce the risk of infection by up to 90%, based on evidence from other respiratory infections.
While you could invest in a pair of safety glasses, a face shield is an expert-approved alternative. It not only covers the eyes from coronavirus-carrying droplets, but extends that additional protection to the nose and mouth. And although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t currently recommend face shields as an alternative to masks—they should always be worn together—it suggests finding a design that wraps fully around the face and extends past the chin.
It’s also important to follow instructions when wearing a face shield. Disposable options should only be worn once, and reusable designs should be properly disinfected according to CDC protocols. You always wash your hands before and after removing the face shield, and never put one on an infant.
With the upsides of face shields in mind, we went ahead and collected top-rated picks available online that meet CDC recommendations. Below, shop our curated selection.
A sturdy elastic band holds this face shield steadily in place on your forehead, while a sponge barrier adds cushioning for hours of comfortable wear. Already adored by hundreds of Amazon shoppers, it’s coated with both an anti-fog and anti-static treatment to ensure full protection from saliva, virus droplets, dust, and more without disrupting vision. When properly disinfected, it provides months of continuous use and can even be worn over glasses. Just be sure to remove the protective film upon arrival—shoppers warn it’s easy to miss.
Available at amazon.com, 2 for $16 (was $20)
If you’re prone to headaches from the pressure applied by elastic bands, consider a face shield adhered to glasses instead. This unique design, which fits over regular prescription glasses or sunglasses, has a lens-free frame and attachments on the ear hooks that connect to the face shield. Each set comes disassembled with transparent shields covered by a protected film layer that, when removed, reveals a crystal-clear surface. The only catch is that you’ll need to clean the mask with a lint-free cloth, otherwise you can accidentally wipe away the anti-fog coating.
Available at amazon.com, 6 for $40
Finding high-quality P.P.E. on a budget can be a struggle, but this 10-pack says otherwise. It’s priced under $3 per shield but still has 88% positive ratings from Amazon reviewers. That’s because it’s designed to hug the face without gaps for 180-degree protection. Despite a lower price point, it still has plush cushioning along the forehead as well as an anti-fog treatment on both sides of the clear shield.
Available at amazon.com, 10 for $33 (was $40)
Turn any baseball hat into your own personalized safety gear with these flexible clip-on face shields. They attach directly to either a flat or curved brim with 3 flexible double-sized clips. One edge clings to the brim while the other holds the transparent shield securely in place to protect against splashes, drips, or droplets. Each set includes 6 hat clips and 4 shields. Functional and comfortable, one reviewer says this design is the best option they’ve found yet.
Available at amazon.com, 2 for $28
Most face shields are designed for adults with dimensions that are simply too big for children. Luckily, this kid-friendly option isn’t just sized down for little ones, but also takes a playful approach to traditional designs. Each shield features a small animation—like a rainbow, bunny, or whale—that makes wearing notoriously boring P.P.E. into a fun activity. You’ll love the 180-degree protection and anti-fog design, while they’ll be obsessed with all the different characters.
Available at amazon.com, 6 for $30
You’ll find tons of bucket hats and visors adorned with face shields on Amazon, but most have mediocre reviews. Luckily, Etsy has this top-rated stylish alternative. The black visor has a golden zipper detail along the brim that connects to a removable face shield. That means you can maximize protection now, but still get use out of the hat post-pandemic. Plus, it comes with both a black cloth face mask and bandana.
Available at etsy.com, $35
You won’t have to choose between the security of an elastic band and the sun protection of a baseball cap with this modern pick. A strategic slit in this face shield for the visor of a cap allows you to wear both simultaneously. The versatility continues with a flexible elastic band that adjusts to different head sizes and a transparent shield with enough flexibility to conform to a variety of head shapes. And unlike other picks on the list, the shield can be cleaned with disinfectant wipes.
Available at etsy.com, from $20
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.
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