The new Missile P-O-P demo from Wiley X allows patients to see the impact of a 1.1-lb. projectile on a pair of safety frames, an ANSI requirement.
Style No. OG-220 from Hilco is suited for woodworking conditions.
ArmouRx women’s Style No. 6002 and men’s Style No. 7017 protect workers’ eyes in style.
Kenmark’s new Style No. W035 sports double-injected TR-90 rubber that’s reminiscent of sunwear.
A tabletop display from ArtCraft showcases its AM (American Made) Workforce collection.

The newest safety glasses help keep workers’ eyes out of harm’s way.

According to statistics from Prevent Blindness, more than 200,000 people were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms for eye injuries in 2013. More than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day, and one in 10 injuries requires one or more missed workdays from which to recover. Moreover, of the total amount of work-related injuries, 10% to 20% will cause temporary or permanent vision loss.

When it comes to protective eyewear, manufacturers are doing their part to offer stylish, effective frames for both plano and Rx use. And ECPs can take advantage of these offerings and educate their patients on the importance of safety eyewear in the workplace. “While it is a relatively small market, ECPs should understand the potential of safety Rx for their business,” says Joe Nadler, director of ArmouRx.

In manufacturing facilities such as those for steel, heavy machinery, and airplanes, debris circulates in the air and workers need to protect their eyes from abrasions and getting struck by flying objects.

Wiley X, Inc.’s Climate Control series features a special foam that when it touches the face “it seals off the environment,” according to Commercial Sales Director Rob Maser. “The replacement cycle depends upon both the wearer and amount of debris-it could range from several hours to six months,” he says.

Hilco offers a variety of side shields for its Safety Rx line. Kelly Piotti, product manager for sports and safety eyewear, explains: “The company’s patented EZ Shield and PermaShield feature permanent or removable shields and allow a fit for virtually any application for industrial or medical manufacturing.” Its Safety Rx collection runs the gamut from traditional safety looks to fashion-forward styles.

Kenmark Group’s Wolverine safety collection features its patented Dura-Lock side shield, providing an easy way to lock the side shield in place without the need of a rivet. ArmouRX’s popular wrap-style frames for industrial use come in a range of contemporary styles in acetate, stainless steel, titanium, and injected polyamide. “Our designs are unique in that our frames are on par with regular fashion eyewear,” states Nadler. “We also offer a range of stylish, ‘small’-fit frames, which has been particularly lacking for women.

Whether a worker is handling toxic chemicals in a plant or a physician is performing surgery in the operating room, “splash protection is critical,” Maser stresses. “Medical workers are at risk of infectious diseases that can be transmitted via blood or respiratory splashes,” concurs Piotti. Depending upon the specific type of medical work, physicians will customize the safety features to best meet their needs.

A clear face shield is sometimes used as secondary protection, Maser notes. “Wearers have also attached magnifying lenses that flip down with the PT-1 blade-style glass,” he adds. For the radiology industry, specialized lenses can be placed into Wiley X’s frames to protect technicians from harmful rays. ArtCraft also supplies the medical industry with contracted metal and special-purpose frames.

ArtCraft has manufactured Rx eyewear for 20 years for the U.S. Air Force for in-flight, cockpit requirements in high-performance aircraft such as the F-35 jet fighter, according to Vice President Charlie Eagle. “Visual acuity was always most important for flight crews, but now very sophisticated computer readings are critical,” Eagle stresses.

Since the frames must comply with ANSI Z87.1 safety eyewear standards, ArtCraft decided to add the AM (American Made) Series to its existing safety Rx frames, the USA Workforce Collection. The collection features stainless steel construction in six styles in the female, male, and unisex categories. The women’s styles have spring hinges and come in a soft angled oval and modified butterfly shapes; the men’s versions feature integrated spring hinges in a modified goggle and modified rectangle shapes; and the unisex models have spring hinges and come in a rectangle and oval shape. Manufactured at its Rochester, NY, plant, the company is banking on consumers’ demand for “Made in the USA” products among American workers, explains Eagle.

Hilco’s Vision OnGuard safety frames, made from materials such as flex titanium and polycarbonate, are also ANSI Z87.1-approved and allow for excellent peripheral vision, according to Piotti.

While it’s critical for frames to receive ANSI certification, the safety process is also significantly more time-consuming than bringing fashion frames to market. According to Jason Wehlege, Product Designer at Kenmark, the ANSI process nearly doubles the lead time and development of a regular optical frame.

Kenmark is set to launch Style No. W035 in its Wolverine collection, which it hopes will build on the success of Style Nos. W033 and W034 that were released in the spring. This style features double-injected TR-90 and rubber, “with a more sport-styled look often found in sunwear, but translated into optical safety,” says Wehlage.

For fall, Hilco will be launching a new patented, side-shield technology with fashion-forward frames as well as expanding the size and color range of its best-selling styles to fulfill its customers’ needs, Piotti states. Wiley X will also roll out new products in the near future.

The more that a manufacturer can explain the special features and benefits of its safety lenses with its P-O-P displays, the easier it will be for ECPs to sell. Wiley X now offers a new, unique demo device-the Missile POP. To meet ANSI standards, safety frames must be able to withstand the dropping of 1.1-lb. pointed projectile dropping 50 in. Wiley X’s Missile P-O-P has a 6-in.-long missile with a pointed tip that weighs 1.1 lbs. and is 1.5 in, in circumference. The missile is dropped through a tube where the viewer can easily see its impact a pair of lenses.

Other companies such as ArtCraft and Kenmark continue to supply traditional materials such as counter displays and wall charts, which help highlight safety frames, especially when most ECPs are focused on dress eyewear.

Kenmark offers a wall chart that provides optical shops with a full visual assortment of the collection. “This way, if the ECP doesn’t carry certain styles in house, they and their patient have a quick resource,” Wehlage explains.

Hilco provides P-O-P displays as well as training in safety Rx standards. “The best selling method for ECPs is to ask lifestyle questions such as occupational and recreational activities,” Piotti suggests. “Not only are they saving the patient’s sight, but they are also ensuring that the expensive street frames they purchase will be safe from the conditions of a work and recreational activity.”

If ECPs take the time to educate themselves on the current product offerings, they can provide a valuable service for patients who depend upon safety frames for their livelihood.

Michele Silver is a freelance writer in Montclair, NJ.


877-938-2100 •

ArtCraft Optical
800-828-8288 •

800-955-6644 •

Kenmark Group
800-627-2898 •

Wiley X
800-776-7842 •


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