Eye protection

Eye protection is protective gear for the eyes, and sometimes face, designed to reduce the risk of injury. Examples of risks requiring eye protection can include: impact from particles or debris, light or radiation, wind blast, heat, sea spray or impact from some type of ball or puck used in sports.

An airman using a welding mask. Failing to use proper eye protection when welding may lead to blindness.

Eye protection are typically separated into categories based on the style of eye wear and the hazard they are designed to reduce. There categories include: Spectacles with side protection; Goggles; Welding helmet; Welding Hand Shields; Non-Rigid Helmets (hoods); Face shield; and Respirator Face pieces.



Examples of different styles of Safety Glasses

Safety glasses or spectacles, although often used as a catch-all term for all types of eye protection, specifically revers to protective equipment that closely resembles common eye wear. To meet most national standards, spectacles must include side shields to reduce the ability of debris to get behind the lenses from the side. Safety glasses can often mount insert frames to mount prescription corrective lenses for users with suboptimal vision. Such insert frames are mounted behind the protective lens. In some applications, regular eye wear, if manufactured from high-impact materials, can be worn with removable side shields. Oversized spectacles are also manufactured, designed to sit over the users normal eye wear.


Cover style safety Goggles
Empiral Vision Grey Goggle

Goggles are forms of protective eyewear that enclose the eye area in order to prevent particulates, infectious fluids, or chemicals from striking the eyes. Goggles come in two styles, eyecup goggles, and cover goggles. Eyecup goggles completely cover the eye socket to give all-round protection. They have adjustable or elasticized headbands and often are equipped with ventilation ports to allow air in and prevent fogging. For example, swimming goggles to protect the eyes from salt or chlorine. Cover goggles are designed to be worn over eye wear. Like eyecup goggles, they have adjustable or elasticized headbands and are equipped with direct or indirect ventilation ports to allow air in and prevent fogging. While both models keep out large particles, indirect-vented goggles are better at keeping out liquids and dusts.

Welding helmets & ShieldsEdit

Speedglas welding helmet.

A welding helmet is a type of headgear used when performing certain types of welding to protect the eyes, face and neck from flash burn, ultraviolet light, sparks, infrared light, and heat. A welding hand shield is a metal plate containing the same protective lens as a welding helmet with a handle on the bottom, intended to be held up in front of the face while working.


Sand Blasting in protective hood

Hoods (or non-rigid helmets) come with impact-resistant windows usually made of plastic or similar material. An air-supply system may also be incorporated. Hoods are made of non-rigid material for use in confined spaces and of collapsible construction for convenience in carrying and storing

Face shieldsEdit

An Electrician's Mate wearing a face shield while checking for bad fuses.

A face shield is a device used to protect wearer's entire face (or part of it) from hazards such as impact, splash, heat, or glare. With face shields, as with welding helmets and hand shields, the user is continually lifting and lowering the visor. To protect the eyes when the visor is lifted, spectacles should be worn underneath.

Respirator face piecesEdit

Full face shield respirator

A respirator is a device designed to protect the wearer from inhaling particulate matter, including airborne microorganisms, fumes, vapours and gases.

Protection CategoriesEdit

Flying objectsEdit

Flying particles, dust, and windEdit

Heat, sparks, and splash from molten materialsEdit

Acid splash; chemical burnsEdit

Abrasive blasting materialsEdit

Glare or stray lightEdit

The human eye is sensitive to intense light because it damages the retina and can even blind the individual. There are many different types of eye protection against light suited for different applications. The most common forms of eye protection against light are sunglasses. These primarily protect against UV light from the sun and help increase visibility in bright conditions. They often tend to be fashionable as well as practical.

Injurious optical radiation (Moderate)Edit

Laser protection eyewear will filter out a particular (or small range of) wavelength(s), customized to the laser being viewed. Laser protection eye wear is particularly important because of the extremely high intensity of laser light.

Injurious optical radiation (Severe)Edit

Welding glass protects against glare and flying sparks. It is a more extreme implementation of the same idea as sunglasses, suited to the more intense light generated during welding. Arc welding goggles must be much darker than blowtorch goggles. Shades 12, 13, and 14 welding glass must be used to stare directly at the sun or a solar eclipse. These higher index shades are suitable for arc welding and therefore are suitable for solar viewing.[1][2] Sunglasses will not provide sufficient protection.[3]

Other protectionEdit

Helmets and visorsEdit

Some helmets and visors also protect the eyes:


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Solar Eclipse Glasses: Where to Buy the Best, High-Quality Eyewear".
  2. ^ "VERIFY: Are welding glasses safe for viewing the solar eclipse?".
  3. ^ "sunglasses will not provide sufficient protection".
  4. ^ Military Combat Eye Protection (MCEP) and the Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL)