American Woodworker

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Q & A: Prescription Safety Glasses


Prescription Safety Glasses



I hate fumbling with goggles over my prescription glasses, so I’ve given up. Don’t regular glasses protect my eyes well enough in the workshop?


No. Normal prescription glasses, even if they have plastic lenses, are no substitute for safety glasses.Bite the bullet and buy a pair of prescription safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses and permanent side shields.They’re available wherever you buy your regular glasses. They can be made in any prescription and cost no more than a regular pair of glasses.

Safety glasses are different from regular glasses in three important ways.

• First, the lenses are thicker and have much greater impact resistance. Polycarbonate lenses are by far the strongest.

• Second, the frames are built differently. They won’t allow a lens to pop out toward your face.

• Third, safety glasses have side shields that wrap around your face like goggles. Side shields not only protect your eyes, they help prevent other accidents, too. They keep distracting dust out of your eyes far better than standard glasses, so you can concentrate on what you’re doing. (Safety glasses are available without side shields, but we don’t recommend them.There’s no reason to go around half-protected.)

You can get safety glasses with side shields that are detachable, so one pair of glasses could serve you both in the shop and on the street.The problem is,detachable side shields are easy to lose or misplace.


This story originally appeared in American Woodworker June 2002, issue #94.

June 2002, issue #94

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