Product Focus: Eye protection

Trends in ... eye protection

Better all the time

It can be easy to operate in the mindset that “bad things won’t happen to me on the job.” But when it comes to protecting your eyesight, stop for a moment and consider: Every day, 2,000 workplace eye injuries requiring medical attention occur, according to NIOSH. Fortunately for workers, safety eyewear manufacturers are continually introducing new products and striving to make eyewear even more protective.


Even minor eye injuries can have long-lasting repercussions. “A simple scratch from sawdust, cement or drywall can cause corneal erosion that is recurrently painful,” NIOSH states.

However, workers have options to protect against these hazards, according to Susan J. Pingree, product line manager, eye, face and helmet accessories, for Cranberry Township, PA-based MSA. “The current trend in eye protection is an ‘enclosed spec’ that offers additional protection from dust and debris,” Pingree said. “The spectacle lens is often surrounded by foam (which is sometimes removable).” However, she acknowledges that although the foam can help prevent against particles entering the eye, it can cause other issues, including fogging.

Safety considerations for women

Eyewear marketed to women needs to take into consideration the size and fit differences of the female profile, according to Katie Mielcarek, marketing manager for Gateway Safety Inc. in Cleveland. Mielcarek recommends offering safety glasses in a variety of sizes so women have a better chance of finding properly fitting eye protection. “Manufacturers who are simply painting the temples pink of regularly sized safety glasses are not filling the need for tailored safety products for women,” she stated. Additionally, Mielcarek stressed the importance of purchasing quality material that is third-party tested to meet the ANSI Z87+ high-impact standard.

Something to consider

Every part of safety eyewear should be carefully considered, including the tint of lenses. “Making sure the available lens tints match the lighting environment is very important – whether indoors or outdoors,” said Kurt Matejka, safety eyewear product manager for Latham, NY-based Protective Industrial Products Inc. “Safety glasses that do not fit correctly or cause discomfort to the wearer will not be worn, increasing the risk of injury.”

Coming next month … 
Respiratory protection

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association