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31 Best Safety Goggles: Your Easy Buying Guide (Updated!)

Anyone that works with power tools or paint should already know that wearing safety gear is an absolute necessity. That includes professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike. Five must-have working wearables include closed-toe shoes or boots, gloves, hearing protection, masks or respirators, and, perhaps most importantly, eye protection. It only takes the smallest particle making contact with your peepers to ruin your day and, perhaps more permanently, your vision.

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Do I Need to Wear Safety Goggles to Protect Myself Against COVID-19?

National health organizations and workplace safety advocates have been suggesting the benefits of wearing eye protection for months. Recently, Dr. Anthony Fauci said during an interview that wearing goggles or eye shields in addition to a mask might be a good idea to avoid COVID-19. Your eyes produce mucus in addition to your nose and mouth so there is a chance, however slight, that the coronavirus could be transmitted through them. 

“So if you have goggles or an eye shield, you should use it,” Dr. Fauci said.

Recent studies have suggested that, along with physical distancing and face masks, eye protection helped to slow the spread of COVID-19. People may be three times less likely to get infected with the virus if they wear eye protection. Face shields, goggles, and glasses were associated with a lower risk of infection compared with no eye covering. It makes sense which is why you've seen sneeze guards pop up everywhere lately.

There are no rules or official directions regarding eye protection and the public however recent studies have shown that wearing eye protection can decrease the likelihood of infection for healthcare workers. However, it makes sense to use eye protection in addition to a mask, hand washing, and using hand sanitizer anywhere you can’t maintain a reasonable distance from others for longer than 15 minutes.

Some airlines have already implemented best practices for their crew members to wear safety goggles as part of their mandatory personal protective equipment. It’s safe to say that if you’re in close contact with co-workers or customers for an extended period of time that eye protection might be a good idea. Healthcare workers should definitely wear eye protection, especially in areas that have been hit hard by the pandemic.

What Counts as Appropriate Safety Goggles to Help Prevent COVID-19?

When looking for safety goggles, the Centers for Disease Control advises that they should fit snug from the corners of your eyes and across your brow. The smaller the perforations that the goggles have, the better.

Safety glasses rated by ANSI as Z87.1 are the gold standard for workplace safety equipment. These glasses are excellent for personal eye and face protection. They provide the necessary protection from impact, non-ionizing radiation, and liquid splash exposures. That said, they won't seal your eyes from air but neither do face shields.

If you wear glasses in your normal life, there are safety goggles out there that will fit over them with little to no problem. The key is to seal as much of your eyes from the air as possible.

Your day-to-day eyeglasses or sunglasses will provide a barrier for your eyes but because of the openings on the top, bottom, and sides, airborne particles could still get to your eyes. That said, contact lens wearers should consider switching to their glasses to avoid touching of the eyes.

Face shields, something that has been promoted from the beginning of the health crisis, protect the crown and chin from exposure, as well as the eyes. The plastic also wraps around the face to the point of each ear to protect the wearer from inadvertent spritzing and spraying. You should still wear a mask when wearing a face shield in order to cover your nose and mouth, however.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to help yourself against the virus is to continue wearing a mask, maintain distance from others of at least six feet, wash your hands, wear hand sanitizer, and stop touching your face.

When Should I Normally Wear Safety Goggles? 

That is an excellent question. Life is inherently dangerous (especially around your workbench with all those pointy tools) so a case could be made for wearing safety equipment 24/7. But who wants to live life in bubble wrap? Only you can make an educated decision on what’s best for you. 

You’ve only got one set of eyes so protect yourself! Wearing safety goggles or safety glasses is an obvious must when using power tools. Safety eyewear is more than appropriate when working in or near conditions and tasks that can clearly cause eye injuries. 

Wearing eye protection is reasonable whenever there’s a risk of injury to your eyes or face. Many workplaces require safety glasses to be worn by employees and for good reason: over 800,000 eye injuries happen at work each year and 90% of those are preventable. 

Even then, workplace injuries are only a fraction of total eye injuries nationwide. Knowing when to wear safety eyewear involves using some good old-fashioned common sense to assess hazards in the workplace, at home, and recreating (like your weekly squash game).

About half of the 2.5 million eye injuries that happen annually are caused by encounters with blunt and sharp objects as well as body parts. 50,000 of these result in the permanent loss of vision. Yikes. Small particles entering the eyes make up a significant portion of injuries as well.

You know the drill: something gets in your eye, you rub it in, and all of a sudden you’ve wounded yourself. Then you have all sorts of substances to watch out for including tools you’re working with, chemicals, or even sunlight (yes, it’s true; your eyes can indeed be sunburned so grab those sunglasses).

Do I Need to Wear Safety Goggles at Home?

The answer really depends on what you’re doing. Activities such as playing sports, swimming, or working on your house can all be potentially hazardous. Most people consider their home a safe haven. Unfortunately, the potential for eye injury is as high at home as in the workplace. In fact, almost half of all eye injuries occur at home. The four out of ten accidents that cause permanent blindness happens at home.

Outside, eye injury often happens during yard work. It can’t be said enough that you need to wear eye protection when using power tools. Machines like lawn mowers, string trimmers, and wood chippers can propel dirt and debris into the air. Leaf blowers can create a significant amount of dust swirling around. Even gardening poses a significant risk with sharp tools, organic material, and chemicals.

It’s also a good idea to consider safety glasses or safety goggles when you’re having fun. Sports-related eye injuries make up approximately 40,000 emergency room visits a year. Paintball is one of the highest damaging sports with most cases requiring surgical correction.

Baseball and racquetball both feature a ball moving at high speeds. And because of the close contact involved while playing, basketball can cause damage as well. Remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s specs that he wore on the court? Smart guy.

See Also:

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