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By Heather Roberts, Armed In Style owner
Upon my research to start dipping into the market where stylish options are missing in eye protection I have learned a lot.
I have never found myself wondering what makes eye protection safe until I became responsible to provide a quality product to my customers whom I love and I truly want to provide safety and style, cost effectively. I had no idea that the lens material made a difference, but after thinking about it...I mean duh! Of course the material matters. It can be like the difference in wearing a t-shirt and kevlar vest against a bullet. It's more than just something to cover your eyes, which I guess is better than absolutely nothing, but certain materials may not offer any protection from projectiles. I want you all to know what makes eye protection safe and to know that I have researched and found an affordable option that is safe and effective...and I made it stylish too! I mean, just look at them! They're gorgeous!
I'll share a synopsis of my extensive findings with you now.
There are 4 major materials used in making glasses: Plastic, glass, polycarbonate, and ANSI certified polycarbonate.
They all offer a degree of safety ranging from plastic which offers the least to the ANSI certified polycarbonate which can literally stop high velocity fragments traveling up to 409 MPH which is military grade projectile protection(1).
Plastic is the most inferior material used in eye protection. It scratches and shatters easily under the least force. Most companies have gotten away from using plastic anyway due to the creation of polycarbonate. When hit with a tennis ball the high index plastic glasses will shatter at just 40 MPH, not offering much protection say with an ejected casing coming at your eye. (1)
Obviously glass is not a great option for shooting eye protection as it can easily crack or break under impact and it fogs easily, so it does not offer much protection at all. It is however effective at stopping dust or powder from entering your eyes. According to Michael Eldridge, founder of Safetyglassesusa.com glass lenses can withstand a tennis ball at the velocity of 89 MPH before breaking.
Now let's get into the real protective options!
*Polycarbonate material is shatter proof, lightweight, and fog resistant making it the best option for regular and ballistic rated shooting glasses(1,3). They are extremely resistant to impact, and also give a lot of “bounce back” and “blow back” protection(2). Compare the other materials with polycarbonate that can withstand impact of object traveling up to 130 MPH or higher without shattering(1). Polycarbonate lenses also are all 99.9% effective at blocking harmful UVA-UVB rays. Great material for indoor and outdoor shooting!
ANSI certified polycarbonate is the absolute top notch in eye protection. It offers ballistic rating and can withstand projectile speeds of 409 MPH(1)! While it is the absolute BEST in eye protection it is expensive. With Wiley X, a reputable ANSI certified safety glasses producer prices range from $75-$222 with extremely limited options for women. (Women's Wiley X)
Things to note:
Polycarbanate lenses are a quality safety material for shooting indoor or outdoor.
ANSI certified glasses are for maximum protection.
Plastic and Glass lenses are not safety glasses material.
SHOP ARMED IN STYLE SAFETY PRO EYE PRO GLASSES
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1. Michael Eldridge, Shooting Safety Glasses Prevent Injuries & Improve Results, November 13, 2020. blog.safetyglassesusa.com
3. AnnaMarie Houlis, Polycarbonate Lenses, May 2, 2022. https://www.visioncenter.org/eyeglasses/polycarbonate/
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