December 2021

A Vision For Safety: Glasses vs. Goggles

Seeing is believing when it comes to assigning the right eye protection. The fact is, 90% of eye injuries are preventable (Source: Prevent Blindness America). Far too often, employees are injured because they weren’t assigned the correct type of eye protection. Keep in mind that workplace eye injuries can reduce the quality of life, and according to OSHA, cost an estimated $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment, and workers’ compensation.

Imagine reporting to an employees’ family that their loved one lost their eyesight due to a work-related incident. While thinking about these types of statistics and scenarios is tough, it’s critical if you’re going to adequately protect your employees. Knowing the key differences between glasses and goggles, before you assign them, is a good place to start.

Safety Glasses

Safety glasses will protect employees from flying fragments, large chips, sand, and dirt. Unlike safety goggles, glasses can’t fully protect from chemical or material splashes. Some safety glasses are equipped with side shields to provide additional protection around employees’ eyes. Have employees wear safety glasses only while they perform work that involves grinding, woodworking, and masonry. In addition, ensure they wear safety glasses anytime their work activities produce flying particles.

Prescription glasses, sunglasses, or contact lenses don’t provide any eye protection, so never use these as a substitute for safety glasses. If employees wear regular glasses, have them use safety glasses that fit over them or wear prescription safety glasses if they have them. Prescription safety glasses are marked on the lens to show they’re ANSI approved.

Safety Goggles

If you assign safety goggles, they must fit tight and close to employees’ eyes and faces. One key difference is that goggles provide thorough protection because they fit tightly to employees’ faces. The seal doesn’t allow chemical or material splashes to contact the eyes. Some safety goggle models even fit over prescription glasses. However, some safety glasses are foam-lined and offer similar eye protection as safety goggles do.

Direct Venting vs. Indirect Venting



Goggles can provide direct or indirect ventilation to help keep them from fogging up. When employees work with chemicals or materials that present splash hazards, ensure they use goggles with indirect ventilation (this means the vents on their goggles are angled for added protection to keep hazards away from their eyes).

Direct venting goggles don’t have angled ventilation. Employers need to understand this so they can choose the best eye protection. Keep in mind, you need to perform a workplace assessment and determine what employees need to wear. But if they move between work activities, they may need to stop and reassess their PPE before changing job tasks.


Goggles Provide 360 Degrees of Coverage


Direct Venting


Indirect Venting


Glasses vs. Goggles

Protect Employees’ Eyes with SAFEGEAR™ Safety Glasses and Goggles

Choose the style that fits your workers’ needs. Our safety glasses are available in a variety of frame colors and styles; lens colors; and finishes; while our goggles are available with direct or indirect venting.


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