Skip to Content

16 Different Types of Protective Eyewear

Photo collage of different types of Protective Eyewear.

Why risk your beautiful eyes when you can protect them from injuries by shielding them with safety eyewear? This is a common question directed toward those who ignore or don’t realize the importance of protective glasses. And mind you, there are many people that despite knowing the dangers their work conditions may impose on their eyes, avoid using protective eyewear.

Research shows that eye hazards exist in every kind of workplace. However, there are some jobs that have a higher threat. These risks can impact employees both physically and biologically.

According to the BLS, of the total percentage of injuries, almost half of them occur in the manufacturing industry, 40% among plumbers, mechanics, repairers, and carpenters, 33% among sanders and assemblers, and 20% in the construction industry. The BLS also states that 70% of those eye injuries take place due to the swinging, flying, or falling off some objects while 20% of those injuries occur due to the direct contact with chemicals. Eye hazards are not only restricted to workplaces; studies show that the danger looms at home too.

When dealing with yard work or handling heavy, power tools or using chemicals, your eyes are at great risk. For example, a common eye injury occurs when a metal or wood splinter gets into your eye while using a handheld motor; or a splash of chemical enters when cleaning equipment. To avoid such eye hazards, where you can risk losing your eyes forever, it is crucial that you consider protective eyewear.

By wearing protective eyewear on a daily basis, especially when the potential dangers are likely to cause an eye injury, you will be saving hundreds and thousands of dollars on eye operations and medications. The safety eyewear, however, goes beyond providing protection to your eyes. If the correct lens and style are chosen, it can enhance the vision of the wearer.

Keeping the inarguable significance of protective eyewear, we’ve composed this blog post to provide you with a thorough guideline on different types of safety eyewear. So the next time you visit an optician, you will know which one of them is ideal for you.

Related: Types of Toolboxes | Types of Wheelbarrows | Types of Rakes | Types of Clamps 

Safety Glass Types

Before we discuss different types of protective eyewear, it is imperative to note that all types of eyewear come with various lens styles. Some lenses are clear, transparent ones while others have a tint to them. Here is a thorough rundown of various lens styles that interested eye wearer can consider:

1. Clear, Transparent LensTransparent glass lens

Clear lenses are the most common type of lens, used for general purposes. For a normal task that doesn’t involve the use of heavy equipment or a tough work environment, clear lenses suit the best. With these lenses, it is easier to make out your surroundings.

You get a clearer view of everything that’s in front of you in its truest form and color. For example, in tinted lenses, wearers aren’t able to recognize true colors. But that’s not the case with clear lenses.

These lenses are highly functional and are affordable at the same time.

2. Polarized LensesPolarized sunglasses

These lenses are used in eyewear to reduce the direct glare of sunlight, water, and snow reaching into your eyes as they can cause glare distorts. This means that the wearer has a hard time distinguishing true colors and objects which can be a nuisance. With polarized lenses, you can enjoy visual clarity and accuracy.

These lenses also help ease eye strain from long hours in the sun. If you are someone who gets a headache due to light sensitivity, then safety eyewear in a polarized lens is the best option.

3. Amber Lenses A bearded man with amber lens glasses.

Amber lenses used in low-light conditions help minimize the screen glare. These lenses are ideal for those that spend long-hours work in front of their laptop. As the direct computer rays (blue light) can be damaging to one’s eyes, amber lens help block the light, putting less strain on your eyes and elevating your mood at the same time.

These lenses are also helpful in foggy or hazy conditions, allowing the wearer to see without any haze. However, they are not suggested for driving at night or brightly lit areas.

4. Blue Lenses Blue-colored glasses

Blue lenses are used in work environments where there is a high concentration of sodium vapor or yellow lighting. Therefore, these glasses are usually worn in food processing plants, food or the semiconductor industry. Employees that have to spend long hours in front of their computer screens also opt for blue tinted glasses.

5. Mirrored GlassesMirrored Goggles on a white backdrop.

Mirrored eyewear comes with a reflective optical coating – flash coating or mirror coating – on the glass exterior to make these glasses look smaller in size. The optical coating lessens the amount of light entering through the tinted lens by 10% to 60%. Owing to this characteristic, it becomes useful to have this mirrored eyewear in conditions of water, sand, and snow.

6. Orange Lenses

 Orange Goggles on a White Background

Like yellow/amber tints, orange tints are used in low-light conditions as they help make the environment brighter. These lights are also great at blocking blue light which, in turn, make the surrounding objects appear sharper and clearer. These types of lenses are great for activities like shooting and hunting where clarity and precision are needed.

7. Green LensesGreen-colored safety glasses on a white backdrop.

Green tinted safety glasses are probably the darkest colored glasses that are great for blocking infrared radiation (IR), also known as electromagnetic radiation (EMR). While these radiations are invisible to the human eye, they can be very damaging and hence must be used by those who work with machines that give off IR. Most commonly, these glasses are worn by welders when working on welding machines.

Popular Types of Protective Eyewear

1. Safety Spectacles

Safety spectacles

For general protection against flying objects or debris, safety spectacles are utilized. Some of these spectacles also offer protection against harmful radiations of blue light, UV light, etc. Some popular types of safety spectacles are as follows:

Photochromic Safety Glasses

Photochromic Safety Specs

Photochromic safety specs are designed to operate according to the UV light and change glass colors according to the light variation in the surrounding. This means that you won’t have to switch your lenses when going from the indoor to outdoor. Your high-quality pair of photochromic spectacles will automatically change into tinted to clear when needed or required.

Warden Safety GlassesStylish Warden Safety Spectacles

These are the most common safety spectacles used in multiple kinds of industries from lawn mowing to construction to tree trimming. The lenses tend to be bigger than the normal size and are surprisingly lighter in weight. Since they are made up of polycarbonate material, these glasses provide excellent protection to the eyes.

You can find these glasses in a wide range of colored lenses from clear to clear with silver AR to smokey grey. These versatile safety spectacles come with an added foam nose pad that provides non-slip grip and they also feature small ear pieces for optimum comfort and security.

Forensic Glasses

Forensic Specs

Scientists or doctors working in a forensic lab require special kind of glasses designed for forensic activities. These glasses are called forensic spectacles that help the wearer in their investigations. However, the kind of forensic glasses you choose will depend on the kind of material you are investigating, the surface the material is on, the type of substance of the material, and the lighting conditions of the environment.

When an investigator has to exclude the unnecessary light that may hinder them from inspecting their subject, they wear forensic glasses.

Medical Safety Glasses

Medical Safety Spectacles

Medical professionals are also exposed to harmful light in work labs and examination rooms. Therefore, it is important for them to wear medical safety glasses. This helps them protect against bad light and harmful UV rays.

The selling point is that most of these glasses can be purchased at an affordable price range. Make sure to get medical safety glasses that offer protective features like glare reduction, military grade quality, anti-fog coating, and durable polycarbonate frames. It is also important for the frames to be comfortable and secured.

Look for medical safety glasses that are made up of rubber frames and have a temple bar, and a non-slip nose piece.

2. Safety Goggles

 Safety Goggles

Safety goggles are personal protective equipment that can be worn by anyone, especially by those workers that need eye protection in their workplace. You can use these safety glasses in any of the varied lenses be it clear, polarized, tinted, or anti-fog. Some of the most common occupations that have a great risk of eye injury include carpentry, construction, electrical work, plumbing, medical care, welding, and auto repair.

If your main industry is not mentioned here, there might be some departments that require the regular use of goggles. For example, repairing a machine used for your business. Safety goggles are highly suggested if your workplace poses eye hazards such as flying debris including metal, concrete, dust, or wood, regular use of chemicals both liquids and gases, activities that involve the use of devices emitting radiations such as laser, ultraviolet, infrared, and ultraviolet, and medical departments dealing with blood-borne pathogens such as HIV or hepatitis.

This safety eyewear offers remarkable features that protect your eyes from potential hazards. For example, they are highly impact-resistant and protect the entire eye area to ensure no hazard comes from any direction. Another great characteristic of safety goggles is that they come in different sizes and fit perfectly on your skin and seal your facial area.

Safety goggles come in three major types that are discussed as follows:

Directed Vented Goggles

These protective glasses have ventilation holes on both the inside and outside of the frame. These ventilation holes tend to be super small and situated either on the top or the side of the goggles. These holes prevent objects that are about 1.5 millimeters (0.06 inches) in diameter or greater to get into your eyes.

Direct vented goggles are useful in work conditions where there are large quantities of fine debris in the air as they help prevent harmful particles from entering into your eyes. Nice-fitted safety goggles cover your eyes and the area around your eyes, giving your face a much-needed protective seal. The best of all, these goggles easily fit over glasses and prevent them from fogging over.

Indirect Vented Goggles

The main purpose of indirectly vented goggles is to prevent any kind of chemical or acid from damaging your eye. These goggles come with a vending machine that excludes any kind of contact of debris or chemical with the inside of the goggles. This is due to the angled vents that are located opposite to the front lens that the wearer sees through.

In addition to chemical handling tasks, indirectly vented goggles are well suited for plating and degreasing activities. These versatile goggles are also ideal for extreme-temperature conditions and when managing equipment that may cause hot sparks or splashes. Owing to their reversed-faced vents, it is extremely difficult for any liquid or splash to reach the wearer’s eye.

The vents of these goggles are adjustable which means that they can be loosened or tighten up to fit the user’s needs. These goggles are also made of malleable rubber that helps absorb the impact. Their specialized venting system also prevents the glasses from fogging over and most of their lenses are scratch-resistant.

The only downside that these goggles exhibit is that they are not as well ventilated as direct vent safety goggles.

Non-Vented Goggles

As stated above, vented goggles prevent debris entry into your eyes while indirectly vented stops harmful liquid to harm your eyes. On the other hand, non-vented goggles are designed to avoid the entry of both airborne debris and chemicals/alcohol into your eyes or eye area. They are ideal for all those workplaces that may be surrounded by flying debris or involve splashing of chemicals.

What further sets non-vented goggles apart from their counterparts is their fully closed venting. Given that these giggles have no vent opening, they do not even allow the air to enter your eyes. This is why these types of goggles work best in open, windy areas.

However, the disadvantage of having zero vent opening is that the eyewear may get fog frequently, requiring you to clean it every now and then. On the contrary, ventilated safety goggles allow air passing, lessening the scope of frequent eyewear cleaning. Regardless of the style of goggles you go for, ensure that your safety eyewear has an approved lens and frames by the management.

Also, it is important for the eyewear to be well-fitted; for this, you will need to try out the goggles before wearing them to your workplace.

3. VisorsWhite-Colored Visor

This is the type of protective eyewear that is used by sportsmen during play, especially soccer. While there are many types of visors, the most common one is the visor that is attached to a sports’ helmet. It usually is a piece of curved plastic that is attached to a player’s mask, protecting their eyes from direct sun rays.

Visors not only block harmful UV rays but they also prevent the player from getting injured during their games. They offer a wide range of advantages which are discussed as follows:

Helps correct the vision

This is essential for athletes that have not so perfect vision. Playing with glasses on or contact lenses can risk the corrective eyewear to fall off during the game which is why wearing these glasses is a better alternative. It corrects your eye vision and allows you to play with ease.

Filters Out the Light

Wearing tinted visors block the sunbeams just as sunglasses do. The blockage of sunrays gives players an advantage of seeing with clarity and precision. With these glasses, the chances to lose sight of the ball or getting temporarily blinded are lessened to a great extent.

Players with sensitivities can also benefit from this kind of visor.

Offers a Strategic Advantage Too

Tinted visors hide players’ eyes from their opponents which can serve as a strategy on the field. Unfortunately, tinted visors have been outlawed and are only allowed to players that are suffering from certain medical conditions.

4. Face ShieldsOrange Face Shield

A face shield is a type of protective wear that not only shields your eyes but the entire face as well. This safety eye and face wear protects the wearer from hazards such as flying objects, debris, chemical splashes, or infectious materials. Some of the face shields come with spectacles and goggles too which further helps in the protection of the wearer’s eyes.

Many types of face shields provide head protection along with a plastic face shield and a hard plastic top to cover the head. A head guard is usually used in construction sites or industrial areas where there are risks of moving or falling objects. The most common application of face shields includes metalworking or during welding, grinding, or cutting equipment.

A welder’s face is shielded against intense heat, harmful radiation, and sparks. Welding face shields are specifically constructed from tinted glass or auto-darkening surface to protect the wearer. Face shields are also used during medial applications that help protect the face and eyes from the splashing of hazardous fluids.

Face shields often come with peripheral protection that helps cover the sides of your face. Face shields can be both tinted and metal coated. But face shields with special applications consist of tactical equipment used only by police offices in riots.

For such purposes, the face shield is made up of heavy-duty thermoplastic resin or polycarbonate material, providing protection against all types of bullets. Keep in mind that face shields can come in a wide range of protection levels. It all has to do with the kind of material that has been used for constructing the face shield.

If you work in an environment that may pose a threat to your eye health, it is highly recommended to invest in an ideal safety eyewear set today!

Related: Types of Screwdrivers | Types of Scissors | Types of Pressure Washer | Types of Chisels