Promoting safety eyewear presents both challenges and opportunities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 800,000 work-related eye injuries occur every year. Approximately 2,000 workers need medical treatment for an eye injury sustained at work. This results in a staggering cost of nearly $300 million dollars a year in medical costs and lost productivity to employers.
Safety eyewear falls into the category of personal protective equipment (PPE), and when it is properly utilized by the worker, more than 90% of eye injuries could be avoided. According to Prevent Blindness, some common industrial eye injuries include: flying objects (metal, glass), tools/equipment, particles, chemicals, harmful radiation (welding) or a combination of these and other hazards unique to the workplace.
One of the big problems that safety engineers and risk managers have is workers’ compliance when wearing safety eyewear. Reasons for non-compliance include discomfort, poor fit, weight and functionality, which is of particular importance when the worker has to wear additional PPE devices such as hard hats, filter masks and hearing protection.
Fortunately, for the worker and eyecare professional alike, safety eyewear has seen a revolution in style and functionality. Using new materials, updated designs and fabrication techniques, frame manufacturers now make safety eyewear that rivals dress frames in style and comfort while meeting ANSI Z87.1 safety standards.
Wiley X, long known as a supplier to the military for tactical eyewear, brings a new entry to workplace eye safety with the WorkSight line of ANSI Z87.1 rated eyewear. This stylish 12-piece collection is attractive both on and off the job. Colors include black/brown, black/sky blue, hickory brown, brown and green demi. Frames are constructed of Triloid Nylon and have wire core temple tips for adjustment and patient comfort. Five barrel hinges provide extra strength to the frame temple area. To comply with all industrial scenarios, each frame comes with side shields that can be detached when eyewear is worn off the job.
State-of-the-art safety eyewear is represented by Hilco’s Leader Rx WorkWear series. The OG-220S line features vibrant colors such as green/yellow, purple/white and chestnut brown. Additional features include a replaceable adjustable bridge and a dust dam that helps block dangerous dirt and grit arising in a workplace atmosphere. Both the OG-220S and OG-225S series feature integrated side shields in the frame design. This provides additional ocular protection and side shield compliance.
The OG-240S series brings sporty to safety with an 8-base wrap look that still permits the insertion of 6-base lenses. V Port technology allows enhanced peripheral vision and ventilation to prevent lens fogging. Popular colors include matte burgundy, matte black and camo. Mimicking popular sunglass styles, the OG-230S line gives a wrap look to safety eyewear with the wide stylish temple doubling as a side shield. Hilco makes available a six-piece rotating display that is attractive in the modern dispensary and acts as a silent salesperson to begin discussions on safety eyewear needs.
ARMOURx brings versatility to eye protection with the WrapRx series, offers a wide offering of safety eyewear styles in its traditional Classic Collection and trendy styles of metal and zyl frames in its Metro Collection.
ArtCraft has been a manufacturer of ophthalmic frames in Rochester, NY, since 1918. In 1995 the company added the manufacture of industrial frames and supplemented those styles with imported products under the USA Workforce Collection. This line consists of non-conductive wrap styles, all-acetate styles, flex stainless steel, titanium and monel all-metal styles. In 2014, ArtCraft introduced the AM Series of Rx safety frames for men and women with innovative materials such as carbon temples and camo-colored TR90 temples with stainless steel fronts. The AM Series (which stands for American Made) also introduced a patented permanent side shield attachment system known as “EZ Lok-It” that is quickly attached with a stainless steel breakaway screw in the lab or at the dispensing table.
Eyecare profesionals are the “gatekeepers” of products and services. With the technological breakthroughs in frame materials and designs, we can confidently show protective eyewear that is functional, attractive and comfortable to wear by our patients.
Richard W. McCoy, LDO, ABOC, NCLC, is an opticianry instructor at Hillsborough Community College in Fort Myers, FL.
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