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Do Safety Glasses Expire?

Do Safety Glasses Expire? Safety Protection Glasses Blog

Safety glasses are built to last against just about anything, from corrosive splashes to violent projectiles, and even the heat of flames. But there’s one thing that not even safety glasses can protect against, and that’s time. With the passing of time, you’ll find that even your safety specs will need to be retired, but how can you tell when or why?

Though it’s certain that safety glasses can expire, it’s important to understand when their time has come to retain the maximum possible safety measures for your eyes – so with that in mind, here’s all you need to know about the expiration of safety eyewear.

How long to they generally last?

Be they prescription safety glasses or regular safety specs, or even safety lab goggles, they’re all going to have a similar expiration date – and this is usually at around 3 years. However, this is only an average and won’t account for all safety glasses.  If you have prescription safety glasses your optician may recommend a further check on your eyes after two years which might prompt you to have to buy a new pair to accommodate a new prescription.  If you are buying safety glasses new, you will want to be sure that you have a recent eye test which will last for this duration so that you do not have to replace them halfway through due to new prescription needs.

In large part, it will depend on the trauma and chemicals they’ve experienced, as well as how cheap or expensive they may have been upon purchase. The pricier ones tend to be made from stronger and more lasting material, after all. 

It’s important to conduct regular checks on your safety eyewear to assess their condition, especially if you happen to work in conditions where they regularly come in contact with dust or chemicals. In such cases, it’s a good idea to replace them every three years regardless of visual assessment, as eye safety is not something that ought to be compromised on.

Which types of glasses need replacement most often?

There are various types of safety glasses for various types of needs, all suited towards different professions, hobbies, and sports. You’ll find, however, that the safety glasses worn by those working in industry jobs where the environment is frequently dusty, with various particles in the air from metal sparks to sawdust, the safety glasses will need more regular replacement.

In such jobs, small scratches are extremely common – and if these aren’t removed or cleaned, the glasses will need replacement sooner. Some scratches can’t be removed and can present a rather large hazard in impairing visibility – which isn’t ideal in a line of work that involves operating heavy and often dangerous machinery such as saws and pistons.

Lab goggles require equally careful assessment of their condition, as splashes from potentially irritant or corrosive chemicals, sudden projectiles and other dangers are common in lab environments.

These can, in equal measure, be gradually destructive conditions towards safety lab goggles and thus will also warrant a routine replacement every 3 years. Most chemicals can be washed off from safety glasses, as some are built to withstand them as well, but over time almost anything will deteriorate with more contact from such chemicals.

What are the tell-tale conditions?

What about the conditions you ought to look out for that are most telling of whether it’s come time for a replacement to your safety glasses? There are plenty, some of which can be amended, others which can’t. Here are some of the signs to watch out for when assessing your safety glasses’ condition.

  • The frame doesn’t fit your face anymore/has become uncomfortable to wear.

This is typically amended rather easily – rather than replacing all parts of the glasses, you can simply replace the frames and keep the lenses. This is especially helpful if you’re using prescription safety glasses.  However, this only works if you are replacing the same frame model.  As with most things it is better to have a completely new set rather than putting old lenses (that may be slightly scratched or worn) into new frames.  They will likely be looser and not fit as well as a pair that is made in one go.

  • When scratches become noticeable and are affecting your ability to see.

This can be amended by cleaning the safety glasses, you can use an approved lens cleaner such as EK Accessories Cat Crap, putting a little on the scratches, then rubbing them with a soft cloth until the scratches go away. If you do this and the scratches persist, you know it’s come time for a replacement.

  • Fogging up despite having had anti-fogging coating.

This means that the anti-fog coating is deteriorating and can be a severe hazard depending on the environment in which you wear them. Depending on the glasses, these may need to either be replaced, or re-coated with new anti-fogging coating. This isn’t always an option, however.

Keep your safety glasses lasting longer!

Though it’s true that all safety glasses are bound to expire whether we like it or not, we can still do more to make them last. Regular maintenance is vital to this, as frequently washing your safety glasses after use can lead to less deterioration over time.

Cleaning both the lenses and the frames can help with this regard. If they get dusty or come into contact with chemicals, wash them immediately after you’re done with them. Slightly scuffed safety glasses can still be salvaged, but broken ones, unfortunately cannot.

After cleaning the safety glasses, using an anti-scratch solution on them can ensure a better longevity to them as well – after using any kind of solution, it’s also vital to dry them properly and store them in a safe place where you know they won’t fall and clatter to the ground – potentially causing more unnecessary damage.

Safety glasses are a vital part of many people’s everyday safety. Plenty of people would be at a loss without them, and plenty of jobs would suffer without them as well. However, be it work, hobbies or simple home re-modelling, it’s important to know what to do when your safety glasses are nearing their end – and how to keep that end a long way away, while you’re at it.


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