Cordova Safety

Eye Safety – What to Look For in Your Eyewear PPE

Safety eyewear is standard-issue PPE, and yet, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2000 workers sustain an eye injury every day, a third of which lands them in the ER. More than 100 of these result in days lost from work.

The light at the end of this dark tunnel, however, is that it is also estimated that 90% of these injuries could be avoided. We could go from 2000 injuries/day to 200 if we only wore the right eye protection.


On the Job Versus at Home Eye Injuries

Accidental eye injury is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the United States. While we know that protective eyewear is a must-have in many work environments, a recent survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma revealed the following:

  • Nearly half the reported eye injuries occur at home – 40% from home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking; another 40% from sports and recreation.
  • Over 78% of those injured were not wearing eyewear.

Common Causes of Eye Injury

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the most common workplace eye injuries are a result of the following:

INJURY: Striking or Scraping

CAUSE: Small particles such as dust from power tools or metals

INJURY: Penetration

CAUSE: Projectile enters and penetrates the eye

INJURY: Chemical/Thermal Burns

CAUSE:  Industrial Chemicals & Cleaning Products

Types of Eyewear PPE

Again, with 90% of eye injuries being preventable, there is no shortage of eyewear PPE options. There are three main types of eye protection: safety glassesgoggles, and face shields.


Safety glasses are worn just like prescription or sun glasses and come in many shapes and styles, each with different features to address the needs of specific applications. Safety glasses are equipped with shatter and scratch-resistant lenses designed to stop large, physical objects from injuring your eyes. Safety glasses can be purchased with prescription lenses and diopters to magnify reading. Certain styles can also be worn over existing prescription eyewear. They are also available with a coating that prevents fogging.

Below is an example of the characteristics of pair of safety glasses:

Machinist® Pro Safety Glasses


Not only do projectiles, chemicals, and dust, cause eye injury, but also the sun, which makes UV protection an important consideration when working outside. Many are equipped with UV protection, indoor/outdoor lenses, and/or polarized lenses.

“The most recent edition of the American National Standard (ANSI) used for safety glasses, safety goggles, side shields, and other eye and face protection devices is ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020: American National Standard For Occupational And Educational Personal Eye And Face Protection Devices.”

Appropriate protective eye wear is classed as eye wear with ANSI Z87.1 marked on the lens or frame.


Goggles provide a sealed barrier between the skin and the environment. They can be vented or non-vented.

Non-vented goggles help protect against

  • vapors,
  • mists,
  • fumes, and
  • other hazards against which eyes must be completely covered.
gray dust goggles
Unvented Goggles

Vented goggles help protect against

  • liquids with no vapor or mist danger. These may come with holes drilled into them, which could allow liquid to penetrate, or buttons that allow air to pass through but not liquid
Vented Goggles



Face shields offer a second layer of protection to safety glasses or goggles by protecting the entire face. There are different face shields available to provide the right protection for the job.

man wearing hard hat face shield

October Is Eye Injury Prevention Month

Are you, your family, and your workers and co-workers protected? October is Eye Injury Prevention Month, so now is a great time to take stock of your PPE to make sure you are covered for eye protection.

Related Information


OSHA Standards for Eye & Face Protection

CDC Eye Safety

ANSI Current Standard for Safety Glasses


CORE SAFETY PROTECTION: For over 25 years, CORDOVA SAFETY PRODUCTS has expertly provided consumer and industrial Core Safety Protection. We are a head-to-toe personal protective equipment (PPE) supplier with over 4500 products and distribution centers in Memphis & California and a member of Bunzl Distribution’s Safety family, a leading supplier in North America.

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