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What Are Safety Goggles?

Safety goggles typically are used to protect the eyes from chemical and particle exposure.
Individuals who use wordworking tools should always wear safety goggles.
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  • Written By: Norma Jean Howland
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2014
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Safety goggles are a type of protective eyewear that usually enclose the eye area, preventing water, chemicals, or particles from getting into the eyes. These goggles are often worn by professionals who do physical labor in sawmills, welding shops or factories. Protective eyewear is also worn during sports, such as competitive swimming, to help keep chlorine from irritating the eyes; soccer goggles protect athletes from stray balls; and snow sport goggles help prevent snow-related injuries. Those who do chemical research also use goggles to protect their eyes in the lab, and people who work with power tools, such as chain saws, use goggles to prevent eye injuries from flying debris. These goggles are also available in prescription strength for those who need eyeglasses.

In manual labor, safety goggles are routinely worn to protect the eyes, especially in such professions as welding, wherein fiery sparks fly up from the piece being soldered. For loggers, goggles are often necessary due to the fact that almost any type of woodwork may cause fragments to fly up and get into the eyes. Factory workers also are often required to wear safety goggles, depending on the material being manufactured, to protect the eyes from burns, dust or any other type of irritation.

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For laboratory workers and students working with chemicals, safety goggles are usually required since chemical reactions are often unpredictable and explosions do occur. In a laboratory, fumes may also irritate eyes, which is another reason special protective eyewear is worn. In this kind of situation in which good eyesight may mean the difference between a successful experiment and a disaster, prescription strength safety goggles are often used, replacing regular eyeglasses.

Athletes also use safety goggles to protect the eyes from game injuries from balls, bats or hockey pucks. In underwater sports, goggles also prevent eye irritation by keeping water out of them, which cuts down on eye redness due to salt water or heavily chlorinated pool water. Goggles are also worn for winter sports, to protect the eyes from windburn, snow and ice particles.

Safety goggles can be worn for almost any activity that may put the eyes at risk, including lawn mowing, weed-whacking or chopping wood, as these chores can cause particles to be thrown about, which may be dangerous to the eyes. For those who use chainsaws, goggles are usually recommended as a way to protect eyes from splinters that may find their way into the eye area. Even such everyday chores as pruning trees or bushes may cause particulates or dust to irritate delicate eye tissue, so wearing goggles may be a good idea.

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