Individuals who wear prescription eyeglasses not only must find appropriate safety eyewear for the task at hand, but they must also make sure it allows their prescription to fully do its job too. To accomplish these goals, there are basically four options for individuals who wear prescription eyeglasses and who also need safety eyewear.

1.) Prescription safety glasses. The ideal situation for many prescription glasses wearers who need safety glasses is to have a pair of prescription eyeglasses to wear outside of work and a pair of prescription safety glasses to wear while at work. Prescription safety glasses have more available features compared to the other three options listed below. In fact, just considering “What Lens Options to Get for Prescription Safety Glasses“ can feel a bit overwhelming at first.

Unfortunately, this option is also likely the most expensive, especially if insurance covers little to none of the cost. Also, any eyewear lens can eventually get scratched and need to be replaced, which means laying out a good chunk of change again, especially if buying new frames too.

2.) Safety glasses with prescription inserts. Prescription Inserts are designed to be filled with your prescription and then installed behind the main lens of the safety eyewear. This option has several benefits. First, they can save money and generally provide more protection than traditional safety glasses with side shields. Also, the inserts are protected by the main safety lens, which can be easily replaced if scratched or broken without having to buy new prescription lenses. This option is also a handy backup for contact wearers in case they cannot wear their contacts for some reason.

The drawback? All prescription Inserts are limited on the strength of prescription they can accommodate, so they won’t work for everyone. Note that the accommodation of prescription strength varies greatly from one model to the next, so be sure to thoroughly check out all the models available within this option.

3.) Over-prescription safety glasses. This option involves wearing safety glasses over your regular glasses. Over-prescription safety glasses come in quite a variety of options, and most people can find an option just as suitable as what they would find in regular safety glasses.

Some individuals struggle finding a good fit over their glasses with over-prescription safety glasses. This may be due to lack of trying enough styles, but this option also simply isn’t right for some individuals. The bottom line is that a comfortable fit is essential for compliance, so individuals who find over-prescription safety glasses to be bothersome should consider another option.

4.) Side shields. Side shields come in a variety of models, sizes and colors to fit most eyewear frames. Some are clip-on, while others allow eyeglass temples to slide through side openings and auto-adjust for a secure grip. They also can be removed quickly if needed. Other side shields have a band that secures the shield to the frame. Most side shields also block the sun’s harmful rays and come in a variety of tints. They usually can be purchased individually or by the pack.

Keep in mind that side shields are usually more of a temporary solution and intended to block light particles. They are not typically rated for impact protection.

Making sure each worker who wears prescription glasses has appropriate safety eyewear protection won’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, safety managers should plan on talking with each individual to find out what they want/don’t want, what bothers them about what they currently have if what they have isn’t working (often shown by non-compliance), and then helping them find another option that works best for them.

By | 2017-06-02T17:59:07+00:00 July 28th, 2015|All Posts, Safety Tips|2 Comments

About the Author:

Michael Eldridge is a US Marine Veteran and the founder of He's passionate about protective eyewear and promoting vision safety. In his spare time, he enjoys target shooting, fishing, CrossFit, mountain biking, camping with his family and watching Detroit Tigers baseball.


  1. Laura Keeney August 5, 2015 at 2:44 pm - Reply

    Hi my name is Laura. I have a very difficult time find regular safety glasses to fit property. I wear contacts most of the time and just need regular safety glasses but sometimes I would like to wear my glasses to give my eyes a rest from the contact lens. Can you help me find small prescription safety glasses? Thanks Laura

    • Michael Eldridge August 10, 2015 at 9:37 am - Reply

      Hi Laura, thanks for contacting us.
      If you’re looking for safety glasses that fit over your existing prescription glasses I recommend visiting our Over-Prescription Safety Glasses section The Pyramex OTS is very popular since its less bulky and more attractive than other models.

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