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How to Choose Safety Eyewear for Work

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A close up of a trades worker wearing protective eyewear

Work-related eye injuries are common, especially if you work with chemicals, heavy machinery, or in a contaminated environment. The good news is, many of these eye injuries are preventable if you wear proper safety eyewear.

But how do you know which type of safety eyewear is best for you? Our team has expertise when it comes to workplace eye safety and can help you find the right protection based on your individual needs. But until you can visit us, we’ve compiled a list of everything you need to know about choosing the proper safety eyewear.

Step 1: Know the Eye Safety Hazards at Your Workplace

The first thing you need to consider when buying safety eyewear is what type of hazards you deal with at work. Common workplace hazards include:

  • Mechanical risks associated with the use of heavy machinery
  • Radiation and temperature risks 
  • Chemical risks or foreign material risks, which can include any material such as dust, liquids, gasses, or other chemicals

If there is a safety officer at your workplace, they can help you identify the types of hazards you may encounter. Some jobs might even require specific safety eyewear to be worn during work hours. Answering these questions will help you and your eye doctor choose the appropriate protective eyewear for you. 

Step 2: Choose the Right Type of Eyewear

Now that you know what workplace hazards you need protection from, it is time to decide what type of safety coverage your job requires.

Safety Glasses

Safety glasses are a common type of safety eyewear and are intended to protect the eyes from all sorts of impact hazards. If you work a job where you are at risk of flying objects or particles and don’t require a complete seal around your eyes, safety goggles may be the right option for you. 

Safety Goggles

Safety goggles protect your eyes from the same impact hazards as safety glasses, but they seal around your eyes, offering you full protection from every angle. If your job requires you to wear safety goggles, you must get them properly fitted to ensure you receive the necessary protection.

There are several styles of safety goggles that offer various levels of protection based on what impact hazards you may come into contact with:

  • Direct vented safety goggles- These goggles are designed to protect your eyes from flying objects and particles but do not protect from liquid or chemical splashes as they have openings to allow for airflow
  • Indirect vented safety goggles- Like direct vented safety goggles, these goggles protect your eyes from airborne hazards but have a covered ventilation system, offering you additional protection from liquids and chemicals while still allowing for airflow
  • Cover safety goggles- If you wear glasses, you will need cover safety goggles as they are designed to fit over other types of eyewear. Cover safety goggles can be directly or indirectly vented, and the only difference is that they are more spacious to account for your corrective eyewear needs

Face Shields

Face shields are another type of protective wear to consider. Although they have to be worn in addition to safety glasses or goggles, face shields can offer you additional protection as they cover your entire face.

A woman wearing safety glasses showing primarily  the lens of the eyewear

Step 3: Choose the Right Lens

After deciding what type of safety eyewear is best for you, you should consider what type of lenses and coatings you may need to effectively execute your job. Several types of lenses and coatings available offer an array of benefits, including:

  • Anti-Fog coatings- this type of coating is designed to stop your safety eyewear from fogging which can interrupt your vision while completing work tasks
  • Scratch-Resistant coatings- coatings that protect your eyewear from damage can be useful if you work in an environment where you are at risk of impact hazards. Scratch-resistant coating can also help extend the life of your safety eyewear
  • Mirror coatings- mirror coatings are designed to provide additional protection when working in hot or bright environments 
  • Indoor and outdoor lenses- these lenses are best for when you work in various types of lighting
  • Tinted lenses- tinted lenses can protect you and benefit you in all sorts of situations. Depending on the tint, these lenses can protect you against certain lighting or sharpen your vision depending on your work conditions
  • Polarized lenses- polarized lenses eliminate glare and may be useful if you work in bright or outdoor environments

Step 4: Tailor to Your Preferences 

Prescription Safety Eyewear 

If you have eyewear needs beyond safety, you can choose to wear cover safety goggles in addition to your corrective eyewear. Unfortunately, cover safety goggles can be quite bulky. If cover safety goggles don’t appeal to you, you may be interested in our eyesafe program, where we offer a wide range of safety eyewear and goggles that can be customized with your prescription.

Comfort and Design 

If you require safety goggles for work, you’ll usually be wearing them for an extended period of time. When you’re trying to find the right pair of safety eyewear for you, you should pay attention to glasses that properly fit your face, are a comfortable weight and don’t cause any irritation.

To get fitted for safety eyewear and find the right level of protection, visit us today!

Written by Dr. Puneet Randhawa

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