According to a report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an estimated 2,000 American workers sustain eye injuries that are job-related every day. These injuries result primarily from: 

  • Objects scraping or striking the eyes

  • Penetration by sharp objects

  • Burns from chemicals and heat

Therefore, you must protect your eyes by wearing protective safety glasses prescribed for specific needs.

For people with imperfect vision, standard prescription glasses may not offer the protection required for safety in their jobs. A pair of plain safety glasses will protect the eyes but will not correct vision problems.

What, then, differentiates standard prescription glasses from safety glasses? What are prescription safety glasses

Prescription glasses vs. safety glasses: What’s the difference?

Taking care of your eyesight is crucial, but not every pair of glasses serves the needs of your eyes. There is a clear difference between a pair of glasses made for safety in the workplace and one that just corrects a specific refractive error. 

From their material makeup to the hardness of their lenses, safety and standard prescription eyewear are different. They require poles-apart safety standards in the making of their lenses. Federal law safety requirements regulate these standards. So, when you want to purchase safety eyewear, look for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)-approved American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1-rated safety glasses.

The design of safety glasses’ lenses requires that the materials are strong, clear and resistant to impact from flying objects. The unique design of safety glasses covers a large area of the eyes, thereby helping to protect you from biohazards, splashes of hazardous chemicals, and high-impact flying objects. Regular prescription glasses, however, do not offer this level of protection. Instead, they are much more comfortable and intended primarily to correct vision problems.

The lenses of safety glasses come from polycarbonate materials that are strong, stiff and hard. These transparent thermoplastics are capable of maintaining rigidity up to 284° F (140° C).  

However, developments in technology have paved the way for thinner high-impact resistant glasses that meet both safety and prescription glasses’ demands. These glasses are prescription safety glasses.  There are a variety of types of prescription safety glasses available.

Types of prescription safety glasses

From the manufacturing and construction industries to healthcare services, demand is increasing for employees’ need to ensure the safety of their eyes and vision while on the job. Eyeglass manufacturers are creating glasses of different sizes and designs for men and women and that fit all face types to meet these demands.

Prescription safety eyewear comes in various lens types:

  • Single vision – One focal distance

  • Bifocals – Add a distinct reading correction segment

  • Trifocals – Add a section for intermediate vision

  • Progressives – Change smoothly from near to distance correction

They’re also available in a variety of frame styles and materials:
  • Plastic 

  • Metal 

  • Full-rim 

  • Rimless 

  • Wraparound 


Source: All about Vision, American Academy of Ophthalmology