Most prescription safety glasses on our web site have the prescription lens directly in the frame: right where you’d expect it to be. But some safety glasses require special prescription inserts.
When Prescription Safety Glasses Need Inserts
There are some styles we carry, however, that have a front lens, or a shield, and behind it (between the front lens and your eyes) there is an insert that holds your prescription lenses. Many people avoid this because they don’t like the look of inserts and because they are more prone to problems like fogging and streaks. There are some instances, however, where prescription inserts are better or even mandatory.
Here are some useful things to know about prescription safety glasses with inserts:
- When you are using a face shield where there are not two separate lenses (such as a mask or a goggle where there is one large lens), current lens technology is incapable of getting lenses into the main shield. Because of this, the only way to get a frame like this in prescription is to have an insert.
- Prescription inserts are a good option if you need a mask or face shield that protects more area than just the eyes. Gas masks, welding shields, and respirator masks (such as those used by first responders and industrial workers) are good examples of the types of eyewear that require a prescription insert.
- One problem that people have with prescription inserts is fogging. With two sets of lenses, if you are in conditions that cause your lenses to fog, you will get fog on both sets. This can be a major hassle to get rid of, and it can potentially be very dangerous if the fog obstructs your view at a crucial moment. You should make sure to order anti-fog coating on the inner lenses, and look for a shield that has an anti-fog coat. It is also a good idea to purchase anti-fog spray or cream for added protection. Our Cat Crap brand anti-fog paste is ideal for this.
- Another issue that insert users face is cleaning. Because cleaning your inserts can require removal of the eyewear from your face and disassembly of the unit, cleaning can be a real hassle and impossible when you’re in the middle of an important task. Cat Crap anti-fog is another good solution to this as it protects the lenses. On top of this, it is best to keep the eyewear in a case or pouch at all times when not in use. Transfer the eyewear directly onto your face from the pouch to use, and vice versa. This will help keep the space between the lenses and the shield clean.
- The last issue that many people face with inserts is looks. In instances where an insert is required, the way they look makes little difference; the use of inserts can’t be helped. Most of the situations where an insert is required are also bad times to wear contact lenses, and this guideline is extremely important to follow. If you can get away with using prescription safety goggles or one of our standard pairs of prescription safety glasses over a mask with an insert, you should do it, but keep in mind that OSHA and your job’s requirements should not be circumvented for the sake of how you look.
- Proper care and storage of your prescription mask will make it less of a hassle to maintain and use. This can be the difference between forgetting that the insert is even there, and cursing every time you have to use it.
- If you use a respirator mask and need a prescription insert for it, we sell inserts for a large variety of masks. You can order them on our web site with your prescription lenses in them. When you get the insert, all you’ll need to do is pop it into your mask.
- It is not a good idea to get any sort of colored or tinted lenses in an insert. If you need a tint, the place it should go is in the front lens. Tints in the insert look strange with a clear shield, but, more importantly, many masks offer interchangeable shields or films to change from clear to a tint. With tinted prescription inserts, you are stuck with that color no matter the lighting conditions, unless you order more than one prescription insert. This could cause you to end up using a tint in poor lighting conditions, impeding your vision dangerously.
Prescription inserts have their place, and the majority of our customers do not need them. A few common times that they’re necessary, however, are: winter sports (skiing, snowmobiling, snowboarding, etc.), motocross, ballistic safety (for military use), many industrial environments, and first response tasks which require a respirator.
Used in the proper way, prescription inserts will be unnoticeable after repeated use, and they will make your work or sport safer and more efficient. Most important to their use is proper care and maintenance. Fogging or lack of clarity can be perilous in life or death situations, so we urge you to invest in anti-fog paste and a proper case or pouch for storage.
You alone are responsible for ensuring that your protective equipment is appropriate and ready to be used. Be smart, stay safe, thank you for your service, and thanks for reading!