When Should You Retire Your Prescription Safety Glasses for a New Pair?

Nothing lasts forever and that includes your safety glasses. Although they’re a low maintenance item, wear and tear, damage, and degradation will render them less effective at protecting your eyes. In fact, if they’re sufficiently damaged, they aren’t protecting your eyes at all. At least with no glasses, you would keep your eyes out of harm’s way. Exposing your eyes to dangerous situations with bad safety glasses is asking for an injury or worse. Here are five indications that your safety glasses need replacement:

They’re Used

Picking up a pair of used safety glasses from a yard sale or the online equivalent, is simply exchanging one pair of bad glasses with another. You have no idea how it was used or abused by the previous owner. Perhaps it had multiple owners before it became your possession. If it’s still useable, how much of a life expectancy does it have left?

Even if the glasses weren’t abused, things age, especially plastics. Polycarbonate, often used as the lens material, will degrade over time through UV exposure. Some degrade more slowly than others depending on whether any special processes were used in its manufacture to make it UV resistant. If the pair is several decades old, its UV resistance is questionable. The same argument applies to the frame if it’s plastic.

The Lenses Are Scratched

When viewing the world through scratched lenses, the brain can easily filter out a few scratch marks. At some point however, the optical quality will become very poor when the lenses get scuffed up with too many scratches. Using them will be like wearing dirty glasses except that the “dirt” is permanent. If you use them in a dark environment, glare will be a big problem because the scratches will scatter light passing through the lenses. The poor vision caused by this problem is a safety issue in itself.

Even looking through a pair of scuffed up prescription safety glasses during the day can have adverse consequences. What these consequences are, depend on the situation and the task you’re doing. If you’re an electrician, and you can barely make out the labels on the wiring, you could injure yourself or perhaps someone else.

Your Vision Has Changed

The eyes change over time, which is why you probably won’t wear the same pair of prescription glasses for your entire life. Clear vision is essential for personal safety, whether working at your job or at home. When your prescription changes, you can either buy a new pair of prescription safety glasses, or replace the old lenses with new ones in your existing frames.

Your Safety Glasses Are Damaged

crack in a lens or the frame means it’s time to retire the glasses. A crack on the lens, no matter how small, is a serious safety issue. The crack weakens the lens, which means it may not hold up to the rock flung by your lawn mower, or the flying fragment from the shattered blade of a power saw. The same is true of a cracked frame. In order to hold the lens in place, the frame must remain intact. Once the lens or frame material has a crack, stress from any impact will increase the size of the crack. At some point, the lens or frame simply breaks.

Your Safety Glasses Were Abused

Abuse in this case means an accident that calls into question, the structural strength of your prescription safety glasses. If you drop your pair on the ground and someone steps on it, or you leave it in your car in extreme summer heat, your glasses’ ability to protect your eyes is questionable. These are just two examples of many such accidents.

If your safety or prescription safety glasses are compromised in some way, replace them. The world is a beautiful place, and losing your ability to see it is a great loss. For information on getting safety glasses appropriate for your work or activity, please contact us.

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