Occupational Eye Protection

The good news is that there are more protective eyewear options than ever before. From lightweight, shatterproof sports glasses to industrial welding masks, there are effective eye protection options for virtually any high-risk activity.

Examples of occupational eye protection include:

  • Standard dress eyeglasses provide limited protection from frontal impacts. By law, prescription eyewear must be impact-resistant, but this does not mean they are shatterproof.
  • Safety glasses provide much more frontal protection against flying objects, and contain specially treated glass, plastic or polycarbonate lenses that meet industrial safety lens standards. Of all the materials, polycarbonate is the most impact resistant. These lenses must be mounted in special safety frames designed to hold the lenses securely in place under heavy impact. Studies show that lenses more than 2mm thick are less likely to shatter or dislodge from the frames under heavy impact. For additional protection, various types of side shields can be attached to safety frames.
  • Safety goggles offer significant front and side protection against the danger of flying objects. If you wear glasses, you can wear most goggles over them for protection and good vision.
  • Protective face shields protect your eyes from chemical splashes and from some flying particles, but they are not made for heavy impact. If you are working with highly toxic or unstable chemicals, you should wear goggles under the face shield.
  • Welding goggles and masks contain special absorptive or filter lenses for protection against welding rays, sparks or flying particles.

The lenses in your protective eyewear should provide clear, comfortable vision with little distortion. Excessively scratched, pitted or chipped lenses can lose their impact resistance and should be replaced. Eye protective equipment should fit snugly and correctly. Straps, frames and other parts should be durable and fit comfortably. Your optometric physician can offer advice about what eye protection you need.