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Eye Protection at Work: Types of Protective Eyewear

Job safety may require different protection and procedures than described here. Follow your employer's safety instructions and procedures.

Your employer selects the correct protective eyewear for the hazards you face on the job. Depending on your job, you may need tinted lenses, goggles, a face shield, or a welding helmet for added protection. If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, ask your employer about protective eyewear requirements.

 

Safety glasses with side shields

Goggles with regular ventilation
Goggles with regular ventilation

Goggles with hooded ventilation
Goggles with hooded ventilation

Face shield
Face shield

Welding helmet
Welding helmet

 

Fit of protective eyewear

To work as it should, your protective eyewear must fit properly. Many glasses have parts that can be adjusted for comfort. Be sure your eyewear fits you well and is worn correctly.

  • Safety glasses with side shields give protection for the sides of your eyes. They must be used when flying-object hazards are present. They protect you from flying particles coming from in front of you or from the side.

  • Face shields used with other eye protection protect your entire face. They protect you from splashes, heat, glare, and flying particles. They don't give you enough eye protection by themselves. They must be worn over other protective eyewear such as safety glasses or goggles.

  • Goggles with regular (direct) ventilation fit snugly around your eyes. They should be worn in dusty environments or when a hazard could strike you from one of many angles. They protect you from dust, sparks, and flying particles coming from many angles.

  • Goggles with hooded (indirect) ventilation have indirect openings to block dust and chemical splashes. They protect you from chemical splashes, dust, sparks, and flying particles. They may be used in lab work, for work with molten materials, or for other eye splash hazards.

  • Welding helmets fit over safety glasses or goggles. They may have clear or tinted lenses. Ask your supervisor which lens is right for your job. Welding helmets protect you from intense light from welding, sparks, and splashes of molten metal.

Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell medical illustration team.
Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph, Thomas N., MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Taylor, Wanda, L., RN, PhD.
Date Last Reviewed: 12/5/2015
© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.