The world of prescription safety glasses has really changed in recent years. When most people think of prescription glasses, they usually think of those bulky square frames with after-market side guards at the side of the lens over the temples of the glasses. But, that is no longer true. In fact, prescription frames have become popular among athletes and outdoor enthusiasts.
Below you can see an example of how stylish and cool modern prescription safety glasses can look.
Not your Grandpa’s Safety Specs
Many prescription safety glasses are not limited to side protections to keep dangerous material away from the eyes, they also help protect the eyes from harmful UV rays and Laser technology, too. Stronger frames that are able to withstand rough action are used by athletes in baseball, football and basketball. Police officers use protective wear that not only makes night vision easier for late night driving, but the frames may be made of a stiff rubber that is less like to suffer breakage.
People who do intricate, delicate work and need better lighting can get prescription safety glasses with LED lighting built into the frames to free up their hands. One of the newer frame styles has Bluetooth included in the arms of the frames and the speaking mechanism operates through the bones of the nose to allow a person to communicate and keep their hands free for other purposes.
Outdoor enthusiasts such as hunters, skiers, or snowmobilers may prefer prescription safety glasses with UV protection lenses that wrap around to protect their eyes from the dangerous light of the sun and protect their eyes from debris. Snowmobilers will benefit from lenses with amber coloring to protect from the brightness of the snow. Scuba divers can get prescription lenses for their respirator masks.
How to know how safe your lenses are
The lenses in prescription safety glasses are made of a high standard polycarbonate material designed for high impact resistance. The standards for safety apply to both the frames and the lenses as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), who bases their standards on the requirements set forth by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
The testing standards set by ANSI require that the lenses be tested separate from the frame and then the lenses and frames must be tested together as a unit. Although both non-prescription and prescription lenses must past similar stringent testing, prescription safety glasses are generally considered stronger because the prescription tends to make the lenses thicker. ANSI has two levels for impact: basic and high. Basic requires that a safety lens will not break or crack in a drop test that has a 1 inch diameter steel ball dropped from 50”. High impact resistance calls for a lens to withstand high velocity impact of a 1/4” ball traveling at 150 feet per second.
How to know your lenses rating for safety:
All safety glasses must have particular markings to show that they meet the requirement standards set by ANSI and abide the regulation requirements of OSHA. Lenses marked with “V” are photochromic and lenses marked with “S” have a special tent for specific purposes like welding and other high intensity light applications that may harm the human eye. You should see a number next to the “S” regarding the tinting level of your lenses. If the number is 1.5 to 3.0 the tinting is safe for torch welding. If the number is 10 to 14 the tinting is safe more intense light such as electric arc welding.
There will also be markings on your lenses, frames or both regarding the safety level of your glasses. In the case of lenses and frames for non-prescription safety glasses the marking will be located on the front of the frame and on one of the temples. The marking is Z87 for basic impact and Z87+ for high impact. On the lenses and frames of prescription safety glasses you should find thee markings on the front of the frame and on both temples. The marking in this case is Z87-2.
OSHA requires protective glasses for certain fields of work, including:
- Pipe fitters
Welders must already wear a shield helmet. Prescriptions are certainly optional for the shield lens or under the helmet as glasses. Medical surgeons are required to wear protective coverings due to risks of contact with bodily fluids. Doctors who need prescriptions for their eye protection also have the option of having prescriptions in the frames or using Fit over frames that will cover their daily eyeglasses. Indeed, surgeons who need to see well in small areas would benefit from safety glasses with LED lighting attached.
Athletes often suffer eye injuries from other players’ fingers and elbows or dangerous hits from thrown or struck balls. Some athletes who also have vision problems have found that prescription safety glasses help them protect their eyes and help them with their game performance through increased comfort and better vision.
Your eyes are your window to the world. You should protect them so that you can do your job longer, safer, and better. The risk to your eyes is not worth any misguided vanity that you think you look better or tougher without safety glasses. It only takes a moment to suffer a grave injury that could cause you a disabling setback that could have been prevented by taking only a moment to put on protective eyewear.
Safety glasses will keep you in the game or on the job. They are not too expensive and well worth the extra security of knowing your eyes are safe no matter what you are doing at work or play. Safety glasses have come a long, long way from the huge goggles or bulky square frames with added side guards. Indeed, many workers wear their eye gear even when they are not at work or at play because they just look that good!