Why Is It Important To Have High-Impact Resistant Lenses?

High-impact resistant lenses

When working or participating in activities that can pose a risk of eye injury, it’s important to protect your eyes against those risks. Safety glasses are the best defense—if you’ve chosen the right configuration— that is the key.

Finding the correct pair of safety glasses is critical to preventing injury. If you’re not sure what to look for when selecting a pair for yourself, Blue Collar consultants can assist you. To get the right pair of safety glasses for you it means looking at everything from lens materials and coatings to frame styles and fit.

So whether you’re an experienced PPE pro or new to the world of eye protection, you might learn a little or a lot—but keep reading.

Selecting the proper safety glasses will determine how well you’re protected against eye injuries. When making your selection, there are a few things to consider such as what type of work you do, the environment in which you work, and personal preferences.

Lenses are going to be the most crucial component of whichever glasses you choose. There are a few different variations of lenses, each with its own unique protections. We want to touch on one of the most common lenses in PPE—high-impact resistant lenses.

Why Are High-Impact Resistant Lenses Critical?

Safety glasses are an essential piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) for most industrial jobs but also recreational activities. They offer your eyes protection from a variety of hazards, including flying debris, chemicals, and dust.

One of the most important features chosen by over 90% of workplaces is high-impact resistant lenses. These lenses are made of materials that are manufactured to withstand high-velocity impact without shattering. Whenever the eyes take impacts like these the injuries are typically quite serious and often affect the quality of life. We’re talking about injuries such as bruises to the cornea, detached retina, and even something as simple as a cut can turn into a serious infection. All of these types of injuries have the potential of resulting in complete and total blindness.

High-impact resistant lenses can utilize several different materials to achieve their goal. The most common material is polycarbonate, it is strong but lightweight. However, other materials are a little more expensive such as Trivex and Lexan.  Several different materials can be used to make high-impact resistant lenses. Polycarbonate is one of the most common materials, as it is strong and lightweight.

Other materials that are sometimes used include Trivex and Lexan which over sharper vision than most plastics due to their higher Abbe number. An Abbe number is a term used in optics and lens design to indicate the amount of aberration in a transparent material. The higher the Abbe number, the better the optical performance you get.

Who Needs High-Impact Resistant Lenses?

High-impact resistant lenses are important for a variety of people from all walks of life, including:

  • Manufacturing workers, those working in construction, shooting enthusiasts, and any other industry or hobby where there’s a risk of flying debris.
  • People who come into contact with dangerous chemicals or other hazardous materials.
  • Athletes such as basketball, baseball, and other sports where objects might be flying toward the face.
  • Anyone who is an avid outdoors enthusiast will also encounter a certain amount of risk such as flying gravel, tree particles, and sand.

When you’re shopping for safety glasses it’s important to assess your risk of encountering flying debris and make sure your lenses have high impact resistant. What you want to look for are lenses that are marked “ANSI Z87+” or “ANSI Z87.1+.” These markings indicate that the lenses have been tested to meet the most stringent high-impact resistant standards.

However, safety glasses that protect you with high impact resistant should have other features that complement the lenses. These features can include:

  • Side shields to protect your eyes from debris flying from the side.
  • Anti-fog lenses to prevent fogging which can obstruct vision.
  • Scratch-resistant lenses to protect the lenses impact resistant from being compromised.

Another often overlooked factor to consider is how the safety glasses fit you. They should not be too tight, but they also shouldn’t be so loose that they don’t rest on your nose properly. You also need to consider lens size and width of the bridge, so they do not obstruct your peripheral vision.

By utilizing high-impact resistant safety glasses, you greatly reduce the risk of serious injury to your eyes. So whether you buy expensive glasses or inexpensive models it’s an important investment for your safety and well-being.

OSHA And Safety Glasses

Are you aware of the importance of wearing safety glasses on the job? It’s not only important for protecting your eyes, but it’s also required to wear them in the workplace under federal regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, otherwise known as OSHA, mandates specific safety precautions for the workplace.

One of those requirements is the mandating that workers in certain workplace environments must be provided, and wear protective eyewear. What we’re focusing on specifically, is the requirement of high-impact resistant lenses.

What Work Environments Does OSHA Require Protective Eyewear For?

There are many environments where OSHA requires protective eyewear to be worn. If you are working in construction with weedeaters and lawn equipment for a landscaping company, you must wear safety glasses.

The higher risk of flying debris is behind the rationale to require safety glasses to be worn. However, even without debris, you also have to wear them when working with other dangerous substances such as chemicals. It all depends on your surroundings.

For example, you could work in the front office of a metal fabrication shop and safety glasses would not be required for you in that capacity. However, should you need to be out in the shop walking around the machinery—you would need to wear safety glasses with high-impact resistant lenses.

In general, you should always wear safety glasses when there is a potential for eye injury. This includes any time you are working with tools, dangerous substances, or in an environment where flying debris is quite common, such as a construction site. If you are not sure whether safety glasses are required in a particular situation, ask your supervisor or consult the OSHA regulations.


Do You Need High-Impact Resistant Lenses?

By wearing high-impact resistant safety glasses, you can help to protect your eyes from serious injury. This is an important investment in your health and safety and Blue Collar Optics is here to help you. Contact us today to let one of our vision consultants find you the perfect pair.


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