Let’s talk about eyes. The eye is one of nature’s most baffling and majestic accomplishments, a marvel of engineering and balance capable of discerning up to 10 million distinct hues and minuscule details. The amount of information passing through your eye per second is far beyond your or anyone’s ability to comprehend, and it’s easy to take your eye’s functionality for granted. The loss of an eye is a life adjustment you shouldn’t have to make unnecessarily, and to lose an eye in a preventable workplace accident is even more regrettable. Enviro is committed to serving the diverse needs of the labor community, and eye protection is a crucial component of that mission. Most industrial environments require that you at the very least wear safety glasses, and they will sometimes provide a selection based on the condition present in the space. Also available are goggles (which we’ll cover today) and face-shields (tomorrow), each designed to address a different situation.
Safety glasses come in many shapes and sizes, with some brands putting more emphasis on style than others, but all have to meet the basic criteria of creating a shield around the entire field of vision. This is why safety glasses usually have a distinctive wrap-around construction that normal glasses don’t have. This way, the eyes are protected from the sides as well as the front. There are many brands of safety glass, each with its own aesthetic and gimmick, but they all tend to use the same basic lens types (which are also found on goggles). Let’s look at those.
Lens fogging is a major issue for a worker in moist environments. When water vapor hits a standard glass lens, it tends to form beads that collect on the lens, creating a blurring effect that can be a big problem depending on what you’re doing; it’s also just plain annoying. The introduction of anti-fog lens coating was a leap forward for the eyewear market. The only coating I’m familiar with is ScotchGard by 3M, but I can’t imagine its competitors work much differently. ScotchGard has a reduced-contact angle that (I’m not sure how) prevents the beads from forming, reducing the blur drastically since there’s only a transparent film of water on the lens. That’s the most prominent special lens you’ll see on our site.
Another feature you’ll encounter is the indoor/outdoor (I/O) mirror lens option. As you can probably guess, this lens is for jobs that involve frequent changes of light condition, usually from transit between inside and outside. The mirror coating serves a similar function to the anti-fog coating, in that it prevents excessive light from getting in the way of your job.
There’s also bifocal lenses, or readers. This technology, pioneered by Benjamin Franklin in the 1780s, allows for a greater degree of magnification in one area of the lens (usually on the bottom) that allow one to get a closer look at whatever’s in front of you without having to adjust your physical position. The degree of magnification is noted in the product description.
There are other lens features, such as anti-scratch (self-explanatory), low IR(infrared), and others, but let’s move on to goggles. Safety goggles are designed to be the next step up in eye protection, intending to create a seal around the eyes rather than a simple shield. In theory, this prevents anything from getting to your eyes from any angle. This creates a new problem, however, since now the lens is more prone to fogging from inside. To prevent this, many lenses have one-way vents that allow airflow through the chamber without compromising protection.
Tomorrow we’ll be looking at the more hardcore forms of eye protection used in welding and similar occupations.