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Do safety glasses damage your eyesight?

It may be odd to think that safety glasses –the very product designed to keep our eyes safe– may actually end up hurting your eyes instead, by gradually damaging your eyesight. Though many have pondered whether safety glasses have any damaging effect on eyesight, the short answer is a simple ‘no’, but there are other factors at play that may be explained for those feeling discomfort.

Side effects of wearing safety glasses

Among some of the known side effects of safety glasses are discomfort, light headaches, and potential fatiguing of the eyes. The damaging of one’s sight, however, is not known to be among these side effects.

Headaches and eye fatigue may often be attributed to the tightness of safety glasses – which you might wear for too long a time, especially if they’re prescription safety glasses. Given that the frames of safety glasses are built to withstand plenty of dangers, from projectiles to fires and even chemicals, they may in turn cause such side effects if worn for too long.

However, there’s no real evidence or examples of safety glasses causing the worsening or damaging of a persons’ eyesight. Eyesight circumstances vary by the person, with damage occurring naturally over time for some, or never even changing for some others.

Headaches can occur either as a side-effect of eye strain, or because your chosen safety specs may be too tight. Frames can be adjusted on some models, or you can simply purchase a pair that better fits your head.

Eye fatigue isn’t caused so much by the frames as it is by the lenses – this is more common if you aren’t using but do require prescription safety glasses. Straining to focus and performing very delicate tasks that require intense observation are what cause it, leading to the muscles in your eyes becoming tired.

Other possible culprits

Aside from an improper fit or an extended period of eye strain, there are other reasons for which you may find your eyes hurting as you wear your safety glasses. All of these happen to have a lot to do with the condition of your safety glasses.

The glasses may be cheap, or of poor quality, which can be a significant problem if you use your safety glasses or safety goggles very often. Cheaper safety glasses tend to be of lower quality and are therefore not often intended for everyday use – they are likely to grow worn much quicker, and thus, are more likely to be the cause of discomfort.

Another potential reason for this may be that the safety glasses aren’t being cared for properly, which can lead to small but very much relevant issues developing over time. Such things as dust and small scratches can gradually wear down the safety glasses and can lead to even worse cases of eye strain and fatigue.

Particularly when considering eye strain, the problem may simply come down to too much glare in your working environment where you use your safety glasses. Glare leads to increased strain, and as such, a good option may be to get an anti-glare/anti-reflective coating for your safety lenses. Be they regular safety lenses, or prescription safety lenses, the coating can still be applied.

The last and most likely cause for potential eye fatigue is only caused if you wear prescription safety eyewear. Specifically, if you have the wrong prescription on your safety specs – this can lead to further strain, and you may not even realise it. Make sure to undergo an eye test at your optician’s before selecting your prescription safety glasses, and the problem should be averted entirely.

Common misconceptions 

As it so happens, the idea that safety glasses can cause harm to your eyesight is just one among the many myths and misconceptions that surround the product.

Another common misconception is that, rather than wearing safety glasses, you could simply wear tinted sunglasses when dealing with UV radiation – be it in a workplace, or in any other circumstance. In reality, this could cause more harm than good. Safety glasses are better tailored towards this, especially if they are made with polycarbonate lenses.

Safety glasses and goggles made with polycarbonate lenses are a necessity when working with UV radiation, and are a far better choice for protection from UV rays – which may actually cause your vision to worsen.

It will be up to you to identify the issue as best you can, and act accordingly to assure yourself the most absolute comfort available from your safety glasses. You can be assured, however, that wearing them will in no way have negative impacts on your eyesight – though it’s a commonly shared myth, it isn’t one with any basis. 

Wearing the correct safety eyewear at home or in the workplace can save you from a potentially devastating injury, so make sure you’re getting the most out of your product!

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