Safety eyewear is one of the most crucial forms of PPE for workers across many industries. 90% of on-the-job eye injuries could have been prevented by the proper use of eye protection.
The function of safety eyewear, however, is so much more than physically preventing dust, debris, and other objects from reaching the eyes. It is also about protecting and enhancing vision. Harmful UV rays and a variety of working conditions can keep workers from properly seeing the task at hand or risk damaging their eyes in the long term. Treatments like anti-fog and lens tint negate these hazards. Based on the job, an array of tinted lenses can help increase safety and productivity.
Many people believe the point of lens tints is to filter out UV rays. However, all Pyramex safety glasses are made from polycarbonate lenses which block 99% of UV rays, regardless of their tint. This material is ten times more impact resistant than standard plastic and is lightweight making them more comfortable to wear. What tinted lenses actually do is filter out a certain amount of visible light.
When light passes through a lens, some of it is absorbed and some of it is reﬂected. The amount of light that passes through is known as the visible light transmission (VLT) and is represented by a percentage. Lens colors with a higher percentage of VLT will be lighter and allow more light to pass through, while lens colors with a lower percentage of VLT will be darker, blocking more light from reaching your eyes. A clear lens obviously allows the most VLT at 94% while the 5.0 IR filter welding lens allows the least at 2%.
The function of tinted lenses goes beyond their specific VLT. Colored lenses can make certain jobs or tasks easier. Certain VLTs can allow workers to see better in different environments that make doing their job safer and easier.
Lens tints for outdoor use are some of the most common. Strong rays from the sun can make it hard to see in outdoor settings. Polarized and mirrored lenses are popular for outdoor use as they help scatter direct sunlight allowing the wearer to see more clearly. Learn more in our blog post about choosing the right eyewear.
Glare can be caused by the sun, but it can also be caused by indoor lighting or working around highly reflective or wet surfaces. Working around excessive glare can be dangerous and increase the risk of accidents and injury. Eyewear that is useful in outdoor settings – like polarized lenses – is also great in this environment.
When indoors, eyewear with a low VLT can make it difficult to see. For this reason, most of the eyewear we recommend for indoor settings has a VLT of 43% or above. Of course, in certain situations such as welding, darker tints may be necessary or even regulated.
Light from a welding torch can be extremely harmful to the human eye. Without proper protective eyewear, welders risk flash burn which is essentially sunburn to the eye. Pyramex offers several levels of welding filters that are used both in helmets and eyewear from 1.5 IR filter up to 5.0 IR filter. 1.5 IR filter is designed for those not directly exposed to IR radiation such as supervisors.
Low light situations can occur both indoors and outdoors. In this situation, specific-colored lenses, especially those in the yellow-orange family can help workers see better. Many people opt for lenses in that color family when driving at dawn or dusk to help them better see the road in front of them.
One benefit of tinted lenses is that depending on the lens tint, they can filter or magnify specific colors. Shooters often opt for bronze or amber lenses to increase their depth perception which helps them make out smaller objects further away. Blue and purple lenses have a similar effect at enhancing color perception which can be important in certain roles.
Opting for tinted lenses in a safety glass allows workers to increase their protection and sometimes even their performance at their job. Pyramex offers over 30 different lens color options to help workers perform at their peak. Eyewear can be filtered by lens color on our website to help find the perfect safety glass solution!