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Safety Glasses: When Should You Wear Them, and What Should You Look for When Buying a Pair?

2 months, 1 week ago

2039  0
Posted on Mar 06, 2024, 4 p.m.

Preserving your eyesight is crucial. We've noted that overlooking your eye health can lead to more serious issues: worsening vision, though initially correctable through eyeglasses and contact lenses, may require expensive surgery in the long run if not addressed. And, in the worst-case scenario, it can lead to vision loss. That makes it vital for you to follow some best practices for protecting your eyesight, like eating the right food, giving your eyes breaks, and doing exercises to strengthen them. Donning sunglasses will prevent UV damage, while wearing corrective eyeglasses or contacts will help slow the progression of refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness).

But that's not all—you also need to protect your eyes from physical injury. Impact and debris can damage them enough to cause vision loss. That makes one more piece of eyewear essential. Here's what you need to know about safety glasses.

What are safety glasses, and when should you wear them?

Though they can significantly harm your eyesight, there's good news: 90% of eye injuries are preventable. That's where safety glasses come in. Unlike regular eyeglasses, these provide more coverage to keep dust, debris, or liquid from entering your eyes while shielding them from impact. Wearing them can thus prevent your eyes from getting irritated, scratched, and infected.

Given their efficacy, they're primarily worn in high-risk workplaces like construction sites and laboratories. However, a significant chunk of eye injuries occur at home, too. Whether you're disinfecting your home with bleach, drilling holes in your walls to install new shelves, or playing sports with your kids outdoors, foreign objects can hit and damage your eyes. Ultimately, it's best to wear safety glasses for activities where you feel like your eyes are at risk.

What should you look for when buying safety glasses?

Safety glasses should comply with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Other than that, be sure to check for the following:


Safety glasses must be sturdy to withstand whatever's thrown at them, so you'll want to look for safety glasses made of polycarbonate or trivex. These materials are both impact-resistant and lightweight, meaning glasses that use them provide the best protection possible while remaining comfortable to wear for longer. That's why they're also considered ideal for sunglasses and eyeglasses. The Pyramex Fortress is a great model that boasts scratch- and impact-resistant polycarbonate, along with replaceable lenses—so you don't need to buy a whole new pair once the old lenses finally give in.

A secure fit

If you want your safety glasses to effectively protect your eyes, they need to fit properly—so try the pairs you want to purchase first. Ensure they cover the entire eye area without obstructing your vision or adding extra pressure to your temples, nose bridge, or cheekbones. And if you need to use goggle-type safety glasses for working with flying objects or debris, confirm you can't slip a finger under the frame. However, adjustable safety glasses are especially great if you want a versatile pair that'll last you years. Take the NoCry Safety Glasses: you can adjust the length and angles of their arms, as well as the position of the nose pads, for a custom fit.

Prescription lens accommodation

If you wear prescription glasses, it'll be a hassle and a potential hazard to wear safety glasses on top. Fortunately, you can buy prescription safety glasses for added convenience and ease of use while preventing accidents that stem from wearing both kinds of eyewear at once. Just be sure to buy your pair from brands that allow you to add your prescription to their safety offerings. A great example is Wiley X's Saber Advanced model. Aside from meeting ANSI and OSHA requirements, it can accommodate both single vision and progressive (multiple prescription) lenses, using polycarbonate material, a wraparound design, and an adjustable nosepiece.

The right coatings and filters

Depending on your needs, you may want to invest in additional lens coatings and filters for improved safety. If you'll be working outdoors, you may want to use polarized safety glasses like the Kleenguard V30 Nemesis to cut out glare, prevent temporary vision loss through conditions like photokeratitis (eye sunburn), and avoid accidents. Those using welding torches will want to use dedicated safety glasses, such as the 3M SecureFit™, that use heat-resistant welding filters. And if you'll be working in cold or humid environments, Bollé Safety's Swift model is a great example of antifog safety glasses you can try: it uses a special coating to repel moisture.

This article was written for WHN by RUTH ANN JOHN who is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about health, wellness, and sustainability. When she’s not typing away at her keyboard, you can find her completing an oil painting or doing DIY projects.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

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