Top 5 Things to Consider Before Purchasing Safety Eyewear

Top 5 Things to Consider Before Purchasing Safety Eyewear

When searching for new safety eyewear, you need to take some time to consider which one is the best for you. Picking up the wrong safety eyewear can put your eyes at a big risk, from eye injuries to permanent blindness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics alone reports that in the U.S., 2,000 work-related eye injuries happen every day. Only by choosing the right safety glasses, you can avoid any kind of eye-related injuries.

The 5 things to consider before purchasing any safety eyewear are Your Activity, The cost of the safety eyewear, The Material used in the lenses and the frame, The Comfort and fit, and The reputation of the brand.

Picking up the best safety glasses for you is not as hard as you think, I know that there are a lot of options and colors out there. But don’t worry this article will help you to make the right decision without wasting any time on research. 

1. Identify Your Activity Eye Related Hazards

Safety Glasses Activities

The first thing to consider before buying new safety eyewear is to identify where you want to use them. You don’t want to invest a lot of money in military-grade safety eyewear when you only want to use them during golf or driving. 

Every activity or job has its own eye-related Hazards. The easy way to pick the best safety eyewear for your activity is by categorizing your activity or job into those three categories: impact, high-impact, and Ballistic.


is for any kind of activity or job that can cause any eye injuries while performing it, from Falling tools and dust to flying debris and fire for example Laboratory, Fishing, Cycling, and more.


High-impact activities are the type of activities where explosions, high-speed flying debris, and of course dust and other eye-related hazards can occur, for example, Construction sites,  Mechanics, Woodworking, and more. 


Ballistic activities are the type of activities where the flying debris are sharper and traveling at a higher speed than the high impact. Ballistic safety eyewear is widely used by the military on the battlefield, Law Enforcement, Fire, and EMS professionals.  

After categorizing your activity, then you can choose the right safety mark you need.

  • If you go for Impact then make sure your safety glasses are marked with Z87 on the frame or the lens.
  • If you go for High-impact then make sure your safety glasses are marked with Z87+ on the frame or the lens.
  • If you go for Ballistic then please read the product description or call the seller and ask them if those safety glasses are ballistic or not. If you are not sure, please read this article I wrote “How to Make Sure Your Safety Glasses Are Ballistic Rated?”

What do Z87 and Z87+ mean?

Z87 and Z87+ are marks used by the ANSI standard for impact resistance which helps ensure safety eyewear provides workers with the needed protection from impact hazards. The difference between Z87 and Z87+ is the impact resistance.

Z87 marked safety glasses had passed the impact resistance test but they didn’t pass the high-impact tests like Z87+ marked safety glasses.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: For total protection make sure your safety glasses are ANSI Z87 or Z87+ approved.

2. The Cost of the Safety Eyewear

The price of a pair of safety glasses can be from $2 to $400 or even more. The high cost of safety eyewear doesn’t always mean that they are the best for you. Before checking the price of any safety eyewear please check the description and make sure that the characteristics of that safety eyewear are the right ones for you.

What makes safety glasses expensive or cheap?

Six things that make safety glasses cheap or expensive are the lens material, the lens coaching, the lens tint, the frame material, the technologies used, and the brand name. 

What’s the average cost for safety glasses?

You can find good quality ANSI Z87+ approved safety glasses with lens coating and a wide frame for around $10 to $50.

What makes safety glasses so expensive?

The Two things that can make safety glasses expensive or not are the lenses and the frame. Some lenses are prescription and they can be with special coatings, the frame can also be made with expensive materials like titanium or carbon fiber.

Can cheap glasses damage your eyes?

Cheap safety glasses will not damage your eyes, but they can cause headaches and eye strain if you use them too much.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: the best safety eyewear for you is not always the cheapest or the most expensive, their characteristics, features, and compliances are most important.

3. Safety Glasses Materials

Safety Glasses Materials

The two main parts of any safety glasses are the lenses and the frame. 

The most widely used lens material is polycarbonate, because of its lightweight nature, heat resistance, and high-impact resistance. Polycarbonate is the best, the most protective, the most durable, and the low-cost material in the market, it can be the best choice for all three categories (impact, high-impact, and Ballistic). Even military-grade ballistic safety glasses lenses are built on polycarbonate.

The Frame is also an important part of safety glasses, it is responsible for Shock absorbing when your safety glasses are impacted. The type of frame material varies from brand to brand, but the majority of them use a shattered-resistance and durable types of plastic like ZylonitePropionate, and synthetic polymer so they can meet ANSI standards.

KEY TAKEAWAYS: Safety glasses material should be strong, lightweight, and durable so it can protect you from any hazards. Make sure that the safety eyewear you have chosen is ANSI Approved.

4. Fit and Comfort

Fit and Comfort

Fit is a crucial element for your eyes’ safety, well-fitted safety glasses can prevent any possibility of eye injury. When choosing your new safety glasses, check these 4 steps:

Step 1: Comfort

Safety glasses should be comfortable, not so tits. They shouldn’t cause any pressure points on the side of the head or behind the ears. Your nose piece should be comfortable and contact your nose without pinching or falling. If not, then the glasses are too big for your face.

Step 2: Vision

Try to see in front of you. The safety glasses shouldn’t break your overall vision. You should have a wide vision, wider than normal glasses. The frame should fit close to the face without hitting your eyelashes. The space between your frames and your face should be less than one inch.

Step 3: Lenses

The lens should cover all your eyebrows. So your vision will not be blocked. Try to move your eyes without turning your head and see if everything is clear and your vision is not disturbed by the glass or the frame.

Step 4: Stability

Try to move your head in any direction you want if the safety glasses stay in place without moving, they are the best fit for you if not try another one.

5. The Brand Reputation

There are many safety glasses brands. Some of them are famous like Wiley X, HexArmor, ESS, Oakley, Edge, Smith, and more. These brands have a good reputation, when you buy safety eyewear from them you are confident that your eyes are comfortable and protected.

You can go for other brands just make sure they have good reviews and they meet ANSI standards and they have good quality materials.

Frequently Asked Questions About Safety Glasses

Frequently Asked Questions About Safety Glasses

Is It Ok to Use Regular Eyeglasses as Safety Glasses?

Regular eyeglasses are not safe when it comes to eye protection. Yes, they can protect your eyes from UV radiation and visible light, they can also reduce glare. But they will never protect you from impact, dust, or liquid as much as ANSI safety glasses can do.

Can the Plastic Lenses of Safety Goggles or Glasses Hurt the Wearer’s Eyes?

The plastics used in most safety glasses are polycarbonate and Cr-39, they are not harmful to the eyes but they can cause eye strain and headaches if not correctly fitted or scratched or if they are tinted in a way that does not agree with the wearer.

The two reasons why ordinary glasses do not fully protect the eyes

First, regular safety glasses are not impact-resistant both the lenses and the frame. If a small object traveling at a high speed impacts your glasses, your eyes will be injured. Second Some regular glasses use glass in the lenses which are not safe at all, glass is not shatter-resistant so if your glasses lenses get impacted the glass fragments go directly to your eyes causing injuries.


Choosing the best safety glasses is not as hard as you think, you only need to consider these 5 things your Activity, The cost of the safety eyewear, The Material used in the lenses and the frame, The Comfort and fit, and The reputation of the brand before making any purchase.

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