Keep an eye on your eyes – A guide to safety goggles & glasses


The eyes are called the window to the soul, and sight is arguably the sense that connects us most to the world around us. With this in mind, it makes sense to protect your peepers from harm’s way whenever you can, but it can be hard to always know when you should wear safety goggles. If choosing to don PPE eyewear it’s important to know what kind of workplaces and DIY projects might put your eyes at risk, as well as understanding which goggles will suit you best.

There are a number of reasons to wear safety goggles and glasses, given that they protect your eyes from all manner of dust, debris, and even germs and infections. It’s also vital that you understand the difference between safety glasses and goggles, and have a good idea of which suits your needs best. Things you have to take into account include the hazards of your workplace, your own needs in terms of sight (glasses/no glasses), and the degree of protection you require. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to safety goggles.

When Were Safety Goggles Invented?

The first patented “eye protectors” were invented by P. Johnson, an African American in 1880, designed to protect the eyes of firefighters and furnace workers. It wasn’t until 1909 that the first “safety goggles” were born, known as SANIGLAS and developed by the Julius King Optical Company. Since their inception safety goggles were improved upon and developed for various workplaces and hobbies, including cycling and motoring, transforming over the years from heavy glass lenses to the tough plastic-based variety that’s most common today.

The Difference Between Safety Glasses and Goggles

PPE eye protection is not all created equally, and it mostly comes in the form of either safety glasses or safety goggles. Those terms may seem like synonyms but in reality, they’re quite different.

 Safety glasses take the shape of regular glasses and are fortified to provide extra protection compared to prescription and sunglasses. They’re often coated with anti-fog and anti-scratch treatment to help you maintain sight if they are stricken, and many of them wrap around the eyes to offer protection from more angles. Certain vendors provide safety glasses with prescription lenses so visually impaired professionals can work without compromising their vision. Safety glasses are often considered a more comfortable and stylish option, however, the nature of their design leaves your eyes somewhat more open to harm.

Safety goggles on the other hand are generally designed to offer more complete protection for the eyes, being worn with a strap that wraps around the back of your head. They’re larger and chunkier than safety glasses but are considered a safer option for jobs with more potential hazards. Many manufacturers now develop and sell variations of their product so you can comfortably wear safety goggles over glasses, as to not compromise the sight of those with prescriptions.

When You Should Wear Safety Goggles – and Why

Safety goggles or other forms of eye protection can save your eyes a lot of trouble in a multitude of workplaces, jobs, and DIY projects, including:

  • Joining and Woodworking – Goggles will protect against sawdust and flying debris.
  • Fettling and Metal Grinding – You must protect your eyes from the hot sparks and little particles of metal the fly around.
  • Scientific Labs – Coming into contact with various, potentially harmful chemicals and droplets means you should wear lab safety goggles.
  • Medical Facilities – Goggles and glasses protect you from germs, chemicals, and medicines found in this workplace.
  • Firefighting – Fire, smoke, and soot are all hazardous to the eyes.
  • Mining – The quantities of dust, dirt, and chemicals flying about make goggles essential.
  • Gardening – Pollen and plant matter can easily get in your eyes, so keep them protected.
  • Office Jobs – Overexposure to blue light from computer screens could mean you need to take extra measures (good place for safety glasses).

What You Need from Protective Eyewear

When it comes to purchasing your PPE eyewear you must consider what it is that you’re protecting your eyes from, so here are a few things that you should look out for when making a purchase.

  • Comprehensive protection – Nothing will get in or out of certain goggles, providing a complete defense against any outside debris or bacteria.
  • Anti-fog and anti-scratch lenses ‒ This is essential to all safety eyewear, allows for uncompromised vision and protection in a number of potential contingencies.
  • Real comfort  ‒ Protecting your eyes shouldn’t be uncomfortable, or leave marks on your face.  If you’re wearing them all day you should seek out adjustable straps/arms, breathability, soft padding, etc. to make wearing them less of a chore.
  • UV/blue light protection – If you’re working outside all day your eyes are going to exposed to UV rays from the sun, and similarly office jobs can leave you staring at screens giving off blue light for hours on end. If this applies then search for protection with light blocking capacities.

Where You Should Get Yours

orange Lenses safety Glasses

At NoCry we have a whole range of safety goggles and safety glasses available to keep your peepers protected at work or at home. Our PPE eyewear range covers all the bases for every different workplace and is affordably priced, because safety shouldn’t break the bank.

Whether you need a pair of stylish Anti Fog Safety Glasses, goggles that can withstand extreme impacts, or even a pair of work sunglasses that you can wear over your prescription lenses, come to us and we can kit you out. Take the route of no more tears, and check out NoCry’s range of effective and fairly priced safety wear.