The two eyes with which you were born are the only set you will ever have. That makes their safety and protection critically important. Your eyesight is precious, and its protection sometimes calls for wearing specialized eyewear. Prevent Blindness America states that nearly one million people in America injure their eyes each year (with many more cases going unreported). The sad truth is that many such injuries could be avoided with the use of proper protective eyewear.
In the spirit of avoiding eye injuries and preserving your vision throughout your lifetime, let’s go over what you should look for in protective eyewear.
ANSI Standards for Protective Eyewear
The first consideration when choosing protective eyewear (also called “safety eyewear”) in the United States involves standards put forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which implements ANSI standards for protective eyewear.
Types of Protective Eyewear:
- Lenses and frames
- Full-face respirators
- Welding helmets
- Face shields
- Impact guards
Other types of protective gear may fall under ANSI guidelines, but various industries are covered, and ANSI compliance is either a “pass” or “fail” for a particular type of eyewear. It is important to note that, regardless of whether or not an article of eyewear meets with OSHA standards, it does not endorse any particular device. Devices fall into either “non-impact” or “impact” (and corresponding “high-impact”) standards, depending upon the intended usage.
Assessing Safety Ratings
Not all eyewear marketed as “safety-rated” actually protects your vision.
What To Look for Before Purchasing Eyewear Protection:
- “Plus” Mark – A “+” on a device’s packaging denotes approval of the velocity test and withstands high impact situations.
- “V and S” Marks – Some lenses are darkened to protect the eyes from immense brightness. A “V” label denotes that a particular lens is photchoromic (lenses which darken, automatically, when exposed to the sun’s rays), while an “S” indicates that a special tint is provided for a specific application.
- The ANSI “Z87” mark should be present for all non-prescription safety eyewear with non-replaceable lenses.
Of course, standards vary across industries, and the best way to ensure you purchase the correct safety/protective lenses for your line of work is to consult with the legal standards of that industry. Standards will vary across various trades, including carpenters, machinists, and plumbers, as well as specialized and skilled professions.
What Is It Important to Use the Right Eye Protection?
Choosing incorrect or unsatisfactory protective eyewear can lead to eye injury, which can, in turn, lead you to the emergency room. Some problems stemming from eye injury can lead to visits to the ophthalmologist – and surgical procedures, as a result.
When it comes to your eyes, like any part of the human body, as the old adage states, an ounce of prevention goes a long way. Wearing the right protective lenses is the best way to stave off permanent, irreversible damage to the eyes. Knowing what to look for in protective eyewear is essential for tradespeople in a variety of professions, and it’s something you can’t afford to overlook.
Make the Right Choice with Advanced Eye Medical Group
Eye safety and protection should never be neglected. Whether you are in need of non-prescription safety eyewear or prescription safety gear, a one-time investment will pay off in the long-term and reduce your risk of causing injury to your vision. To learn more about the importance of selecting the right choice of protective eyewear, please contact our experienced and certified eye doctors.