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Safety Glasses and Protective Eyewear
Each year, almost one million Americans will suffer eye injuries at work, home or during sports play because they did not wear adequate protective eyewear.
According to the Prevent Blindness America group, every year more than 700,000 Americans will injure their eyes at work, and another 125,000 will injure their eyes at home. Another 40,000 will suffer eye injuries while playing sports and many thousands more eye injuries will go unreported. With this much documented risk to your precious eyesight, the only question is why would anyone risk losing their eyesight when simply wearing safety glasses or protective goggles could keep their eyes safe for a lifetime of good vision? That fact that vision specialists and doctors agree that simply wearing proper protective eyewear could prevent up to 90 percent of all eye injuries in the nation only underscores how silly it is to risk your eyesight when you don’t have to.
Safety glasses and protective goggles differ from regular eyeglasses in that all safety eyewear must meet a higher standard of impact resistance than regular, everyday eyeglasses, a category that optical professionals often refer to as "dress eyewear." The higher impact resistance standards apply to both the lenses and the frames of modern safety glasses and goggles. You can get safety glasses that are fitted with prescription lenses, but in no instance will regular prescription eyeglasses qualify as safety glasses unless they are able to meet the specific criteria required for safety eyewear too. Both the lenses and frames of regular prescription eyeglasses are just too light, too weak and non-impact resistant to meet the mandated safety eyewear guidelines.
In the United States, it is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) operating inside the larger U.S. Department of Labor that oversees all safety practices in the workplace and in educational settings. The federal government has long been committed to establishing clear national safety guidelines for all workplaces in order to reduce the risk of on-the-job injuries. When it comes to specific safety guidelines for protective eyewear, OSHA has adopted a set of safety eyewear standards that were developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a private, non-profit organization that creates quality and safety standards for a wide variety of products and industries in this nation. The ANSI standards that apply to eye safety cover a broader range of different types of eye protection devices, including eyeglasses (both prescription and non-prescription), goggles, face shields, welding helmets and full-face respirators. Persons desiring more detailed information on the ANSI specifications that cover safety eyewear can request a complete copy of the safety eyewear standard at the American National Standards Institute website.
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