Safety Glasses: Protecting Your Eyes At Work

  • BY Zenni Optical

Eye injuries in the workplace are more common than many of us may think, especially in work environments where potential eye hazards are present. That’s why experts and eye doctors recommend wearing the right eye protection to prevent common eye injuries in the workplace. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide protective eyewear when employees are exposed to flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases, vapors, and light radiation.

Image source: Safety Glasses USA

What Are Safety Glasses

Although safety glasses may look like normal eyewear, they’re designed to provide significantly more eye protection by featuring frames and lenses that are much stronger than regular eyeglasses. Typically, safety lenses are available in impact-resistant polycarbonate and Trivex™ materials. While both lens types must meet or exceed the minimum requirements for protecting your eyes, polycarbonate lenses provide the highest level of protection from impact.

In order to be certified as safety glasses, they must meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI Z87.1 was created to protect eyewear users from hazards such as impact, optical radiation, liquid splash, dust, and fine particles. This standard covers all types of protector configurations, including eye glasses, safety goggles, face shields, welding goggles, welding masks, and more. (To know if your safety glasses meet the standards, look for the Z87 mark on the lens or frame.) 

Types of Safety Glasses 

There are several different kinds of safety glasses and each one provides a different layer of protection. The type of safety glasses a person should wear depends on the hazards in your workplace. For example, if you are working in an area that has particles, flying objects, or dust, you want safety glasses with side protection called side shields. A person who works with chemicals should wear goggles that protect all the way around their eyes. Below is a breakdown of the most commonly worn safety glasses:

  • Prescription Glasses with side shields: allow for a custom Rx while providing necessary side protection

  • Goggles: wrap-around eyewear that provides a secure shield and protects against hazards coming from any direction. These may come with or without prescription options.

  • Face Shields & Helmets: maximum protection from exposure to chemicals, heat, or blood-borne pathogens. They should be used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles, so that the eyes are protected when the shield is lifted.


Protecting Your Eyes With Zenni 

While Zenni does not currently sell certified safety glasses, we do offer standard eyewear that are made with more durable materials. Our memory titanium eyewear features a lightweight flexibility that is popular not only for comfort and fit, but also for its durable temple arms that bend and don’t break. 

Our kids’ flexible frames are designed for optimal comfort and durability. Crafted from a single piece of soft, flexible TR90 plastic, there are no hinges or metal parts, and they come with an adjustable, detachable strap keeps the glasses securely in place.

We also offer a range of lenses, including polycarbonate and Trivex,  that can be used for safety and high-impact activities. Visit our Lens Index & Material Guide to determine which lens is best for you based on your prescription, frame type, and lifestyle.