They also come with many different options. The majority of those options involve the lenses – different tints, prescriptions, bifocals, progressive bifocals, and/or applied coatings – but some apply to frameware options. Aside from frame style selections, the preeminent frame options usually involve color or pattern choice.
There’s one frame option, however, that you may find particularly useful under certain conditions: foam inserts. Foam inserts in safety glasses serve two purposes. First, they add extra cushioning, which helps make them more comfortable and provides a better, tighter fit. With a foam cushion your safety glasses are less likely to slide down your nose, shift position, or fall off. And in the event that your frames are pushed or knocked against your face, the additional cushioning will soften the blow.
Secondly, foam inserts lock out airborne particles and objects that otherwise could find their way behind or around your frames and lenses. A foam insert provides a barrier that guards against the penetration of both larger, eye-damaging objects (like shrapnel and splinters) and smaller particulates (dust, ash, sawdust, etc.). Even with a tight-fitting safety frame, there is plenty of room between your cheekbones, orbital bones, and brow that goes unprotected. Foam inserts fill in these gaps between your frames and your eyes.
Here are just a handful of the many jobs or activities for which the protective barrier of a foam insert is particularly helpful:
Foam inserts are typically replaceable. Because they come into contact with both your skin and the outside environment, they draw in moisture, sweat, and dirt. They can also wear out or lose elasticity when used for a long period of time. Because of this, insertable replacement foam inserts of the same style and shape that came with your safety glasses are commonly available.
If you’re unsure if foam inserts would benefit you, consider the reasons why you’re purchasing safety glasses in the first place, and under what conditions you’ll be using them. If you’re exposed to sparks, splinters, or any small projectiles (or the possibility of such, from either explosion or accident), foam inserts add an extra layer of protection. When considering usage of safety glasses in any dry, dusty, gritty, windy, or particulate-filled environment, a good rule of thumb is this: if you need to wear a dust mask to protect your nose, mouth, and lungs, you probably need a foam seal to protect your eyes. Even if the added layer of protection is never needed, it’s best to err on the side of caution.
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