When Should Safety Glasses be Worn?

When Should Safety Glasses be Worn?

Safety glasses protect eyes from flying objects, blunt forces, airborne debris and ultraviolet light. The shatter-resistant lenses, durable frames and rugged construction that are required of safety glasses to carry a Z87 or Z87+ rating can preserve eyesight when accidents happen.

For eyewear to pass the strict testing ANSI requires for a Z87 or Z87+ rating, the lenses cannot break or fall out of the frame when hit with a fast-moving projectile or blunt object. Additionally, the lenses cannot be punctured with a sharp dart.

Safety glasses must provide a certain amount of coverage around the eyes. The frames of safety glasses must wrap around the face to provide adequate peripheral protection from side impacts. And the lenses must offer enough coverage below the eye to block impacts coming from the bottom.

Safety glasses with a Z87 or Z87+ rating are required to meet these strict requirements so they can defend vision from potentially eye-ending accidents.

But vision-ending accidents don’t just happen on job sites.

Wearing safety glasses at home

According to a report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than 40% of eye injuries every year happen at home. Repairs, yard work and other daily home activities were to blame for nearly half of the roughly 2.4 million eye injuries that happen every year.  

According to the report, more than 78% of people injured were not wearing eyewear. And only about 5% of those injured who were wearing eyewear were wearing safety glasses.  

Clearly, wearing protective eyewear can help reduce the occurrence of eye injury. According to a separate report by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 90% of ocular trauma (eye injuries) are preventable with strategies like increasing education and by wearing proper eye protection.

The most common cause of eye injury at home was work involving metal. Cutting, grinding and welding were some of the most serious offenders. But household eye injuries aren’t isolated to the garage or yard during industrial-like work. Others reported ocular trauma caused by harsh chemicals splashing into their eyes while cleaning. Routine household dusting can result in debris falling into the eyes, causing injury. Even cooking can lead to eye trauma.

What’s the takeaway from these reports?

Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. With nearly half of the eye injuries each year occurring at home, wearing safety glasses is a critical measure to stop irreversible damage—one that far too many ignore.

Impacts aren’t the only risks to eyesight.

Sunglasses block UV radiation

Safety glasses don’t only defend eyes from impacts. Quality Z87+ safety glasses should also block ultraviolet light. According to this report from the American Academy of Ophthalmology, UV radiation can damage almost every part of the eye. And sustained, unprotected exposure to UV rays can lead to cataracts, growths or even certain types of eye cancers. And all these problems lead to vision loss.

Wearing safety glasses that block at least 99% of UVA, UVB and UVC light is the only way to protect the eye from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation. And UV radiation doesn’t only come from the sun—it’s also emitted by certain indoor lighting. The lenses of some clear safety glasses block 99.9% of UVA, UVB and UVC light. When working long hours indoors, whether on a job site or in the office, prolonged exposure to the low levels of UV radiation emitted by artificial lighting can cause damage to the eye—just like the sun’s rays. Wearing clear or light-tinted safety glasses that block 99.9% of UVA, UVB and UVC radiation is the best way to defend against eye damage caused by UV exposure.   

Safety glasses aren’t only for the job anymore. Eye injuries occur nearly as much at home as they do at work. Using Z87+ safety glasses that block impacts and UV radiation can be the difference between keeping vision and losing it.

Many modern safety glasses include comparable features, technology and comfort to more expensive sports sunglasses or fashion eyewear. These types of safety glasses can be worn as well on the job as the weekend. But, unlike sports sunglasses or fashion eyewear, they offer impact resistance for peace of mind every day. After all, accidents can happen anytime and anywhere.

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