Safety Reading Glasses

If you have reached the point in life you need reading glasses, safety reading glasses are a must if you have to read documents, blueprints, and other paperwork.

What are reading glasses? Reading glasses are offered in two well-known styles: the "Ben Franklin" style half-lenses that sit down on the nose, and full frames, in which the whole lens offers vision correction for reading.

The Ben Franklin style lenses let you look down and through the lens for reading or close work, and then up and over them to take advantage of your normal eyesight to see in the distance.

Full reading glasses are best for people who spend a great deal of time on paperwork. If you have to look up to see something out the window or across the room while wearing full reading glasses, the image will be blurry.

Generally, people who did not need vision correction before midlife will start with reading glasses rather than bifocals, trifocals, or progressive lenses.

Safety reading glasses are never half-lenses or full lenses. A shatter-resistant lens, of course, isn't going to do you a lot of good if it only covers half of your eye.

In fact, you don't want just full lenses. You want glasses or goggles that completely wrap around your eyes to protect them from impact. And although you want vision correction, first you need to ensure your eyes are protected from injury.

The problem with eye shields. One way to protect your eyes, of course, is simply to run down to the hardware store and buy a safety shield that you place on your face over your regular glasses.

The problem with safety shields is that they can come loose, exposing your eyes to injury, or fog up when you are in the middle of a delicate task, exposing everyone in your workplace to injury. At the very least you want safety reading glasses with a side shield extending behind the lenses.

How to know you are getting the right safety lenses. Making sure you have the right safety lens is very important. Your lenses should be marked to show that they have passed two government-mandated safety tests.

In the "drop ball" test, a one-inch diameter steel ball is dropped onto the lens from a height of 50 inches (about 100 cm). The lens must break, chip, or crack. Every glass safety lens goes through this test

In high-impact testing, a quarter-inch steel ball is shot at the lens at a speed of 150 feet per second (about 110 mph). The lens must not break, chip, or crack, and it must not be dislodged from the frame.

A lens that has passed the high-velocity impact tests above is marked with a plus (+) sign. The lens may also be marked with an "S" if it is tinted (for example, for use in welding glasses) or with a "V" if it is photochromic, that is, if it darkens when ambient lighting is increased.

For near vision correction for reading, of course, you should get safety glasses with a prescription from your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Usually using polycarbonate or some other lightweight lens material, prescription safety glasses offer you maximum protection with useful vision correction.

Who needs safety reading glasses? You shouldn't be using safety reading glasses while you operate your rider mower. However,

  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Millwrights
  • Machinists and
  • Pipe fitters
  • are just some of the professionals who benefit for safety glasses with near vision correction. You should also wear safety reading glasses if you build furniture or do metalwork at home.

    If you choose tinted lenses, however, be sure to confirm that any tint or anti-reflective (AR) coating you choose for your glasses does not come at the price of a lower safety rating. Look for the (+) sign on any lenses you choose.


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