Putting on the first pair of safety glasses you find may not provide your eyes with adequate protection from hazards. Safety glasses only offer the stated level of eye protection when frames fit and eyewear is worn as intended. Here are seven tips for making more informed decisions when shopping for non-prescription or prescription safety glasses.
- Assess Potential Hazards
The reasons why you need safety eyewear vary based on your surroundings. Safety glasses for work or active wear should at least provide basic impact protection. Other considerations include exposure to irritants or optical radiation. Select glasses rated for relevant risks.
In addition to physical eye protection, you may also want to consider exposure to other risk factors. If you do electrical work, look for glasses without metal components. The right eyewear will enable you to see clearly and protect against known hazards.
- Check Eyewear Safety Standards
Safety standards indicate the level of protection provided by frames and lenses. Many safety glasses meet the American National Standards Institute Z87.1 standard. Eyewear may also be rated with the European CE and EN166 standards or the Canadian CSA Z94 standard. These standards indicate a basic level of protection from hazards such as blunt impact and optical radiation.
If you require protection from high mass or velocity impact, look for eyewear marked Z87+. The U.S. military ballistic standard for glasses is MIL-PRF-31013. Standards organizations in other countries use different markings to indicate higher levels of eye protection.
- Pair Shatterproof Lenses With Durable Frames
Safety glasses frames must be fitted with shatterproof lenses to provide the stated impact safety rating. Polycarbonate is the most common lens material for safety glasses. The lenses of prescription safety glasses are marked with a plus symbol to indicate an impact rating and have a Z87-2+ marking on the frame.
Polycarbonate lenses are lightweight and fog-resistant, but are also prone to develop scratches. Always store safety glasses in a case when not in use. You may have the option to pair some frames with Trivex lenses. This material is also shatterproof and has better optical clarity and scratch resistance.
- Consider Glasses With Side Shields
Side shields are removable safety components that come with some safety glasses and a permanent feature of other frame designs. Clear or tinted plastic tabs attach to the temples to provide more lateral eye protection. Wearing side shields may limit your peripheral vision.
If you need glasses with side shields, choose from frames with removable or permanent shields. Styles with removable shields typically come with a small drawstring pouch for storing these components.
- Weigh the Benefits of a Facial Cavity Seal
If you are at risk of exposure to irritants such as droplets or dust, you may want to order glasses with a facial cavity seal. This eyewear combines some of the benefits of glasses and goggles.
You may prefer a more breathable style of safety glasses for everyday wear or if you do not need to keep out irritants that require close-fitting frames and lenses to limit exposure. Some frames come with a removable seal to provide additional protection when necessary.
- Make Sure Safety Glasses Provide a Good Fit
Check the size and measurements of frames before ordering safety glasses online. The lens width, bridge and temple measurements can affect how comfortable glasses are to wear and the clarity of your vision.
Your eyes should be near the middle of each safety glasses lens. The ocular center or positioning of your pupils inside your eye is particularly important to consider when ordering glasses with strong prescription lenses.
- Wear Safety Glasses Around Hazards
Safety glasses can only protect your eyes while you have them on. If you rely on safety glasses for vision correction at work or during intense activity, you are more likely to be wearing this eyewear when you need it most. If you also wear other styles of glasses, be sure to change eyewear prior to hazard exposure.
Whether you need prescription safety glasses or safety glasses with non-prescription lenses, it is important to select the right protective eyewear. Checking the safety ratings and size of frames before customizing the lenses can make it easier for you to get the best safety glasses.