Yes, safety glasses can have glass lenses. However, they usually don’t.
First, it’s important to note that glass is rarely used in modern safety eyewear because it’s not as impact resistant as other lens materials. In fact, glass is the most prone to shattering. To provide the necessary ANSI Z87.1 level of impact protection, glass lenses need to be extra thick, which means they are heavier than other lens materials. Plus, glass lenses offer very little protection against harmful UV rays.
The most popular lens material for safety eyewear is polycarbonate. Trivex lenses are growing in popularity too. These lens types are more popular than glass lenses for many reasons, but mainly it’s because of their high impact resistant, lightweight, and UV light resistance.
That being said, there are some benefits of glass lenses that make them a solid choice in certain situations.
Benefits of Glass Lenses for Safety
Glass has been used in eyewear since the 1300s. Its use has dramatically diminished in recent years, though, with thinner, lighter and more impact-resistant lens material. However, there are some merits to glass lenses that account for it still being used even in safety eyewear.
- Scratch resistant – Glass is far superior in this area to any other lens type.
- Optical clarity – Glass is the most optically clear material available.
- Longevity – Glass takes a lot longer to wear out than other lens material.
Because of these positive aspects, ANSI Z87-approved safety glasses with glass lenses are great for people who don’t need the impact safety of polycarbonate. Laboratory work is one such example.
Most people prefer polycarbonate lenses in their safety eyewear. Yet, some diehards still believe glass lenses are the best option. Ultimately, the best lens type really depends on the individual and the situation. If you choose to wear safety eyewear with glasses lenses, make sure they are rated and marked according to the ANSI Z87.1-2015 standard.