Eye Protection

Workers in industries that have high risk for eye injury — like construction, carpentry, and manufacturing — no longer have to dread putting their safety glasses on.

Protective eyewear is sleeker and more stylish than ever. Tinted and mirrored lenses, wraparound side shields, and sporty head grips are a surprise perk for on-the-job safety. If people feel good in their safety glasses, they’ll wear them, and that reduces injuries.

According to the Center for Disease Control, two thousand workers injure their eyes on the job each day in the U.S. What's more, about one third of these injuries require hospitalization and over one hundred of these injuries result in one or more days away from work.

Flying debris like dust and wood, chemical splashes, sparks, hanging or swinging objects, and glare are common dangers that can be avoided with the proper eye protection.

Your best defense against eye injury is wearing protective eyewear. Eye injuries happen when people fail to wear eye protection or wear the wrong kind of eyewear for the job.

The same safety mindfulness applies for do-it-yourself home projects. Anytime you’re using a hand or power tool or working with chemicals, you should be wearing safety glasses.

Regardless of how far safety eyewear has come in terms of attractiveness, wouldn't you rather be a fashion victim, than damage or lose vision in either eye? The key is to get in the habit of wearing safety eyewear whenever there’s a potential hazard.

Shopping Guidelines

Look for ANSI Z87. The American National Standards Institute marking indicates the eyewear — lenses and frame — meets safety ratings for design and construction. Sunglasses won’t provide the same protection, they can easily shatter or bend upon impact.

  • Test drive for a comfortable fit. Faces come in different shapes and sizes, so do glasses. Glasses should fit securely without interfering with movement or vision. If employers are buying in bulk, buy a variety of styles for workers to try on.
  • Harmonize with the hazard. Eye protection is designed for particular hazards. For instance, if you’re working with machinery, wear glasses with side shields. Choose goggles to protect against chemical splash. Amber-tinted lenses increase contrast for indoor work and ultraviolet protection is a must for outdoors.
  • Pick polycarbonate. Polycarbonate lenses are stronger than glass or plastic. Plus, they’re lightweight and not likely to fog.
  • Browse industrial safety suppliers. While hardware stores carry eye protection, offerings are slim. For a larger selection, browse industrial safety supplier catalogs or Web sites.
  • Don’t pinch pennies. The five to ten dollars spent on protective eyewear is a cheap investment compared to the thousands associated with an eye injury. There’s no price tag for your vision.