Full Magnifying Safety Glasses

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This page will describe an alternative to getting safety glasses thru an optician.

In most cases, if you need to wear both safety glasses and prescription glasses, your employer will be able to pay for the cost of eye exam, frames, and prescription lenses. This is usually done thru an optician, either on-site or off-site at his office.


If your employer does not offer this option, or you are purchasing safety glasses for yourself, this page will explain the process.


First, some definitions.

Safety glasses are in most cases made of polycarbonate. While lightweight and cheap, polycarbonate will interfere with your vision because of its distortion, and will cause eye strain. If wearing polycarbonate (store bought, disposable company safety glasses, etc) causes severe eye discomfort, you must immediately talk to an optician.

An optician does not deal with disposable mass-produced safety glasses. An optician gives you an eye exam first, which determines whether you need prescription eyewear, what kind of prescription you need, whether you have astigmatism, what is the distance between your eyes, etc.

You are then given a choice for a frame.

Based upon your selection of a frame, lenses are ordered from a lab. These lenses are usually made of glass, and are of very good optical quality (no distortion).

Going thru an optician will cost you time and money, however. The frame is purchased separately, and $100 is a minimum cost. Lenses may add $200 more. And an eye exam is a typical $75. If you do not have a vision insurance (check - this can be covered under either medical, dental, or dedicated vision insurance coverages and plans). Therefore, this can add up to a large sum of money if you pay out of pocket.


Some myths:

M1 - Safety glasses can only be made of polycarbonate. Not true. Trivex can be used, or a thick enough glass lens can be used as well. In most cases, if you just place sideshields over prescription eyewear it will be equivalent to safety glasses, if the eyewear itself was already compliant with relevant ANSI specification.

M2 - I will need to wear two sets of eyeglasses - one prescription and one safety glasses. Not true. There are several options of combining the two kinds of glasses, as the rest of the article will explain.

M3 - Polycarbonate safety glasses are best safety glasses available. Not true. Polycarbonate safety glasses are the cheapest and lightest, but are the worst for the eyes. They scratch easily, and have lots of optical distortion.


Choosing the type of prescription of magnifying safety glasses:

There are at least three possibilities available:

1) Prescription glass safety glasses which are ANSI compliant and have sideshields

2) Bi-focal polycarbonate safety glasses. These are the ones which have a little lens cut into the bottom, giving you prescription magnification. Also known as "readers". These must be either of wrap-around design or have sideshields.

3) Full Magnifying Reader Safety Glasses. With these glasses, what you essentially have is the whole lens having one prescription, similar to "drug-store" plastic (acrylic) reading glasses.


Examples of Bi-Focal magnifying safety glasses include:

  • Direct Safety Dakota Readers Safety Glasses
  • Crews BearKat Magnifier Safety Glasses
  • 3M Nuvo Reader Safety Glasses
  • Pyramex V2 Readers
  • Jackson Safety Safari 3006 Readers Safety Glasses
  • 3M Virtua
  • 3M BX Reader

For these, I recommend a reseller such as Conney Safety


However, people report problems with the bi-focals (trouble focusing on the small magnified area). If you have the same problem, then what you need are the -

Full Magnifying Reader Safety Glasses

If you would like to see representative types, use a search phrase such as: Full Magnifying Safety Glasses -bifocal -bifocals -"bi-focal"


Some example types available include: MagSafe Full Magnifying MORAYS Full Magnifying Reader Safety Glasses MAGSHOT Full Magnifying

Available from resellers such as Safety Products Marketplace and Amazon.


Here are photos of the full-magnifying safety glasses:

These are either the MAGSHOT or MORAYS brands MAGSHOT MORAYS Full Magnifying Shooting Safety Glasses.jpg

And these are Mag-Safe brand Mag-Safe Full Magnifying Reader Safety Glasses.jpg


For more information about safety glasses and eye strain, read my other article: Safety Glasses Without a Headache portal