In certain occupations, wearing eye protection is vitally important. It only takes one spark, or one stray piece of sharp metal, to cause serious and irreparable damage to your eyes.
But if you’re wearing prescription glasses, you might rightly wonder whether it’s worth going the extra mile and strapping a pair of protective goggles over the top of them. It’s a topic that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, so let’s take a look through the relevant points.
Do Prescription Glasses Offer Protection?
Normal prescription glasses do offer a degree of protection against certain kinds of hazard. But they aren’t as robust as purpose-made protective glasses, and they don’t cover the eye socket to the same degree. Moreover, there’s always the danger that the glasses might break – especially given that you’re going to be working in a hazardous environment. If you’re dealing with hazardous chemicals, then obviously ordinary eyeglasses aren’t going to protect you from the fumes.
You’ll find that even the more compact, stylish safety glasses come with side-shields, which offer protection against objects coming in from one side or another. Traditional goggles, which form a more-or-less complete seal around the entire face, are an upgrade further – though they are more prone to fogging.
Can I wear both?
You might think that wearing your safety goggles over your prescription glasses would represent a good solution. In a lot of cases it is, though there are some drawbacks worth mentioning.
While safety goggles might offer the space for your eyeglasses to occupy, they often aren’t designed for this. Thus, the fit is sometimes a little less than ideal. You might feel excessive pressure against the bridge of your nose and your ears, or you might find that you can’t get your goggles on properly, causing them to move around and fall off.
If you’re working with hazards, then these sorts of distractions are the last thing you should be worrying about.
What are the alternatives?
If you’re comfortable wearing contact lenses, then these might be a good option. With their help, you’ll be in largely the same position as people who don’t need glasses at all – though they’re not right for everyone. An alternative comes in the form of PPE safety glasses with dioptre already built in. Some safety glasses, as we’ve mentioned, provide enough room to stow a pair of ordinary eyeglasses underneath – though they’re often an imperfect solution.
If you’re working with hazards, then you need to be able to see what you’re doing. But this visual clarity needn’t come at the expense of basic eye-safety. If you’re just getting by with an improvised solution, it might be time to invest in something a little more permanent. After all, you only get one set of eyes!
Photo credit ThisisEngineering RAEng