Safety Lenses

Choosing The Right Lenses For The Environment You’re In

Safety glasses are a critical part of personal protective equipment (PPE)  used in a multitude of different work environments. They offer important protection to our eyes from various hazards such as dangerous chemicals, flying debris, and UV rays that can damage our eyesight.

Choosing The Right Safety Lenses Is Critical

Now when choosing the right safety glasses for your work environment the most important part is the lenses. Making sure you match the right safety glass lenses for your work environment provides you with optimal safety and visual clarity.

Safety lenses come in many different configurations that are geared toward protecting the eyes against various hazards. Some of the key characteristics that can vary in these lenses are the material they’re made from, tinting options,  lens coatings, and industry-specific standards.

By understanding each of these variables and what each one offers to your particular environment you can make the right choice to protect your eyes. So, let’s take a closer look that’s some of the options when choosing safety lenses.

Material Used For The Lenses

The material that the safety lenses are made of is a fundamental characteristic you need to consider. Different materials we’ll offer protection from different hazards or multiple. For example, some lenses offer extreme impact resistance as well as optical clarity. However, other lenses might offer optical clarity with no impact resistance at all. Additionally, some lenses offer very specific protections based on stringent industry standards developed based on the risks encountered. Let’s take a look at some of the most common materials for safety lenses available on the market.

Polycarbonate lenses are the lightest material among safety lenses. They offer exceptional shatter resistance as well as offering excellent impact resistance. They are perfect for environments that have a high-risk factor of things like flying debris. Some examples of such workplaces are construction sites and factories.

Trivex lenses offer similar impact protection as polycarbonate lenses but have much better optical clarity because they are made from a urethane-based pre-polymer. PPG, the manufacturer of Trivex, named the material because it gives superior optics, is lightweight, and has incredible strength. These lenses or a great choice in work environments that require attention to small details such as laboratories or medical facilities.

Glass lenses are hands down the leader for optical clarity— there’s nothing better. However, they are far less resistant to impact than polycarbonate or Trivex lenses. Since they provide exceptional optical clarity but are less impact-resistant than polycarbonate or Trivex, they are going to be more suitable for environments that seek optical clarity above all else and have little to no need for impact resistance.

Lens Coatings

Safety lenses are often coated with different formulated coatings that add to the performance as well as durability of the lenses. This would be the second prioritized factor to consider when looking for safety glasses. Let’s take a look at the most common lens coatings available.

Anti-Scratch coating gives lenses a protective layer to make them resistant to scratches. Scratching can occur when lenses come into contact with debris or even something as simple as being in your pocket with your keys. Without this coating safety lenses would be far more susceptible to serious scratches that impair your vision. Therefore, the lifespan of your safety lenses is extended as well as maintaining visual acuity.

Anti-Fog Coating is especially helpful in environments where there’s a lot of moisture, humidity, or variations between hot and cold. In these environments uncoated lenses we’ll fog up causing impaired vision. That could be a critical failure in environments that are dangerous such as a construction site or a food processing plant. Anti-fog coating prevents those conditions from causing the lenses to fog up. This will ensure unhindered vision and increase situational awareness.

Anti-Reflective Coating reduces glare caused by bright sunlight or harsh artificial lighting. This is going to be most beneficial for people working in labs, outdoor environments, or offices. Constant glare can increase eye strain and also obstruct your vision. With this special coating, you don’t have to worry about either of those.

UV Protective Coating Protects your eyes from UV rays, including UVA and UVB variations which can be very harmful to your eyes. Even within indoor environments, UV rays can penetrate through windows and still do damage to your eyes. You want to get safety lenses that have a UV coating that blocks 100% of UV rays.

Tint Choices

You can also get safety lenses that are tinted to provide even more benefits depending on your environment. There’s a few common tint options when shopping for safety glass lenses.

Clear Lenses of course aren’t really tinted at all, but we wanted to include this option as is perfect for optimal clarity. Clear lenses are best suited when the area is well-lit—not too harsh and not too dark—usually indoors.

Gray Lenses decrease brightness and glare without distorting the way colors appear. These are going to be ideal when working outdoors with intense sunlight such as construction or landscaping.

Amber/Yellow Lenses boost contrast which makes them most suitable for dimly lit conditions or environments with a lot of haze or fog. You’ll often find these lenses used for hunting, nighttime shifts on construction sites, and shooting ranges.

Mirrored Lenses have a mirror-like that also reduces glare medicine but even provides extra protection from bright light. Typically, you’ll find these in environments with excessive glare such as a welding shop, or for snow sports activities such as ski resorts.

Industry-Specific Requirements

Every industry has its own set of specific safety standards that need to be considered when choosing proper lenses. Let’s take a look at a few of those industry examples as there would be too many to list here.

Construction is an industry that often faces high risks of impact from flying debris. So, you’re going to want to look for glasses will lenses that are impact resistant such as polycarbonate or Trivex. It’s also recommended to add options such as UV protection and anti-scratch coating.

Laboratories almost always require lenses with maximum optical clarity like Trivex or glass lenses. Typically, these environments won’t have flying debris risks. However, many laboratories will have high humidity conditions or temperature variations. Therefore, anti-fog coatings are also recommended.

Healthcare environments can also vary depending on the type of healthcare facility you’re working in. Typically though, lenses should be clear and anti-fog coatings are almost mandatory.

Manufacturing environments can come with several different hazards. The most common include impact, chemical exposure, and UV ray exposure. Therefore, polycarbonate lenses with anti-scratch coating and UV protection are the norm.

Get The Right Lenses For Your Eyes At Blue Collar Optics

Choosing the right combination of frames, safety lenses, and special options can be a daunting task. Fortunately, our vision experts in blue-collar optics are ready to help you get the perfect pair. Contact us today and let us get your eyes protected.

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