Prescription Safety Glasses

Question: My husband wears goofy looking safety glasses over his regular glasses when using the leaf blower, weed-eater and mower. I’ve been thinking about getting him a pair of prescription safety glasses to replace the funny looking eyewear he wears now…. it is embarrassing!

Are prescription safety glasses an option – or should I stay with standard safety glasses and what should I look for? Anna, Dallas, TX


Answer: Anna, you should be thankful your husband wears safety glasses, many people do not. They assume an “accident” will never happen to them.

Last time I checked we only get one pair of eyes!

Safety eyewear has had big changes over the past decade or so. Those old “shop goggles” have been replaced with new materials that are strong, lightweight and meet ANSI Z87.1-2003 standards.

The big names in the safety eyewear business are: Uvex, Crews, Sight Defense, AOSafety, Harley-Davidson, Oakley and Sperian among others. Safety Glass at Amazon Here!

Today’s safety glasses are modern, stylish and look much like everyday sunglasses, but the lens are tough.

As for specifically prescription safety glasses they are available from a range of manufacturers. But when it comes to wearing safety glasses – it is all about Style, Comfort, and Fit.

Let’s look at Choosing the Proper Safety Glasses

Ask yourself – What makes safety glasses different from other types of eyewear and glasses?

What separates a pair of safety glasses from other types of glasses?

For starters the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) has two impact standards. When looking to buy or replace a pair of safety glasses look for ANSI approvals. These can usually be found on the side of the temple and sometimes right on the lens itself.

Here are the ANSI impact standards:

  • 1. ANSI Z87 – This is Basic impact standard that usually refers to glass and lens.
  • 2. ANSI Z87+ – This is High Impact and refers to polycarbonate lens

Why wear safety glasses?

Unfortunately, too many people do not wear any type of safety eyewear or protection. The reason you wear safety glasses is obvious – to protect your eyes and vision! Not wearing them is a a shame since most eye injuries are preventable and eye injuries are expensive.

Facts on Eye Injuries:

  • In the US companies spend more than $900 million due to eye injuries
  • 60% of workers who are injured were not wearing any eye protection
  • 90% of all eye injuries were preventable according to OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration)
  • On average an eye injury costs $3600 – a pair of high end safety glasses cost about $8.

Who should wear safety glasses?

The fact is most workplaces present some type of eye hazards. Here is a breakdown of injury by industry:

  • 40% – service industry: mechanics, plumbers, lawn care professionals, etc.
  • 50% – employed in manufacturing jobs and 20% of those are in the construction industry.

How come workers do not wear their safety glasses?

The #1 reason workers do not wear safety glasses comes down to Style. Employees think and feel they look nerdy or awkward. Here are some more reasons:

  • They cannot see through the lens. It is dirty, foggy, or scratched
  • The safety glasses provided for them are uncomfortable
  • They get headaches from wearing safety eyewear
  • They wear prescription glasses
  • They lost their safety glasses
  • It is not enforced and the managers do not comply either

Here are a few tips on Selecting the Best Safety Glasses – so they are used!

STYLE: This is the #1 issue of getting safety glasses worn.

COATINGS: You will pay extra for the coatings – Anti Fog and Anti Scratch

TEMPLES: Select frames and glasses with comfortable temple. Bayonet style temples slide over the tops of ears and do not rest on mastoid bone.

BALANCE: If glasses rest on the nose they will always be sliding down, causing constant adjustment. Make sure they are not heavy in the front!

LENS CONSTRUCTION: Select the proper lens construction. This is a critical step in the process.

LENS COLORS: Pick the right lens color for the type of work performed under those lighting conditions.

  • Clear – for indoor applications, especially natural light
  • Indoor Outdoor – ideal for applications that require transition between indoor lighting and sunlight, such as fork lift drivers
  • Light Blue – made originally for sodium vapor lighting, which is prevalent in semiconductor fabrication facilities. Works great under halogen lights as well.
  • Amber – This blocks the blue portion of the visible light spectrum, and creates maximum contrast. Works well in low light applications.
  • Vermillion – This pink lens reduces all color portions of the visible light spectrum, and provides excellent contrast in all colors. These are designed for detail work and inspection.
  • Gray – This shade blocks bright light. Ironically these can be unsafe as too much light can be blocked.
  • Polarized – This eliminates glare.


The best pair of safety glasses for any job is not the cheapest or the most expensive. It’s the one that a gets used properly for each worker.