Should you wear prescription glasses under safety glasses?

In some professions, wearing protective eyewear is of vital importance. It only takes a spark or a single sharp piece of metal to cause serious and irreparable damage to your eyes.

But if you wear prescription glasses, you might rightly wonder if it’s worth the extra effort and strapping a pair of goggles over them. This is a topic that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, so let’s take a look at the relevant points.

Do eyeglasses offer protection?

Normal eyeglasses offer a certain degree of protection against certain types of risks. But they’re not as sturdy as specially designed goggles, and they don’t cover the orbit to the same degree. In addition, there is always the risk of the glasses breaking, especially since you will be working in a hazardous environment. If you are dealing with dangerous chemicals, it is obvious that ordinary glasses will not protect you from the fumes.

You’ll find that even the most compact and stylish safety glasses come with side shields, which provide protection against objects entering from one side or the other. Traditional goggles, which form a more or less full seal all over the face, are a further improvement, although they are more prone to fogging.

Can I wear both?

You might think that wearing your safety glasses over your prescription glasses would be a good solution. In many cases this is the case, although there are a few downsides to mention.

While safety glasses can provide space for your glasses, they are often not designed for it. So the fit is sometimes a little less than ideal. You might feel too much pressure against the bridge of your nose and ears, or you might find that you can’t put on your goggles properly, causing them to move and fall.

If you are working with dangers, these kinds of distractions are the last thing you should worry about.

What are the alternatives ?

If you’re comfortable wearing contact lenses, these might be a good option. With their help, you will be in much the same situation as people who do not need glasses at all, even if they are not suitable for everyone. An alternative comes in the form of PPE safety glasses with a diopter already integrated. Some safety glasses, as we mentioned, provide enough space to store a regular pair of glasses underneath – although they are often a flawed solution.

If you are working with hazards you need to be able to see what you are doing. But this visual clarity should not come at the expense of basic eye safety. If you’re content with a makeshift solution, maybe it’s time to invest in something a little more permanent. After all, you only have one pair of eyes!

Photo credit ThisisEngineering RAEng

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