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What are Prescription Safety Glasses?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Prescription safety glasses are protective glasses fitted with prescription lenses for use by people with vision impairments. Safety glasses can be used to protect the eyes in settings like labs, manufacturing facilities, and athletic events. They are required in some locations and strongly recommended in others; skiers, for example, wear safety glasses to avoid damage to the eyes caused by glare. For people with vision impairments, prescription glasses can be more comfortable to wear than alternatives, such as bulky protective eyewear designed to be worn over an existing pair of glasses.

Prescription safety glasses are available in a range of configurations. Polarized lenses to protect the eyes from glare, ultraviolet radiation, and lasers can be obtained, along with goggles to limit eye damage caused by splashback, airborne particulates, and other materials. The lenses are usually designed to be highly durable so they will resist shattering, and the glasses may feature side guards and other safety modifications for various working environments.

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People with vision impairments who cannot correct their vision with contacts or are specifically advised against wearing contacts for safety can wear prescription safety glasses to protect their eyes and correct their vision so they can see what they are doing. Many companies grind prescription lenses for specialty glasses and often have very short turnaround on production, and people can also sometimes order prescription safety glasses through an optometrist or vision specialist. It is important to make sure the glasses are rated for the application to ensure the wearer will be as safe as possible.

Costs for prescription safety glasses vary. They are more costly than conventional safety glasses, and complex prescriptions like bifocals and blended bifocal or trifocal lenses can add to the expense. If the lenses need to be an unusual shape or must be made from specialized materials, this can also contribute to a higher price tag. When the glasses are required for a working environment, the employer may be obligated by law to pay for at least a basic pair, and employees may be able to work out an agreement where the employer will pay part of the cost for a more expensive and advanced pair of prescription safety glasses.

People who use prescription safety glasses should follow directions on caring for them, including storing them in a case when not in use, cleaning the lenses with soft, nonabrasive cloths and other materials, and storing them in a secure location at work so they don't get confused with someone else's glasses.

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Buster29
Post 2

I like to play basketball on the weekends, but I have really bad eyesight. If I wear my regular prescription glasses on the court, someone could bust them with an elbow and probably break my nose, too. I bought a pair of wrap around prescription safety glasses and now I can play the game without a problem. I get elbowed a few times, but the frames absorb most of the impact.

Reminiscence
Post 1

There were a lot of times when I wished I had a pair of prescription safety glasses as a day laborer. Sometimes my regular glasses took a beating from all of the dust and debris flying around the construction site, and I couldn't afford to replace them if they were damaged. Sometimes the foreman would give me a pair of regular safety goggles, but they didn't always fit well over my glasses. It actually made things worse at times, since I couldn't see what I was doing.

If I ever had to go into that line of work again, I'd invest in some prescription safety eyewear before I did anything else. I went without any safety glasses one time and a blob of hot tar blew up right in front of me. I lost all of my eyelashes, but at least I didn't lose my eye.

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