Wearing glasses and safety gear

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Forum topic by Woodcanuck posted 05-28-2010 03:25 PM 2901 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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128 posts in 2967 days

05-28-2010 03:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: safety glasses

I wear glasses. I can probably get by well enough without them to do some woodworking…but I figure a slight lapse in judgement or depth perception might result in a dado across my hand or something worse. So, I wear them.

Being a good little safety conscious person, I try to do the dust mask, hearing protection and safety glasses over the prescription glasses as much as I can…..but not as much as I should.

I find that I run into a few problems here (and probably would continue to regardless of the prescription glasses):
- the safety glasses I have that go over my regular glasses have legs that tend to cut into the skin above my ears
- the dust mask covers my mouth and nose nicely, but tends to push my glasses up to the point that I am only looking through the bifocals…and consequently somewhat blind past 3’ of distance.
- the straps from the dust mask either tangle in the legs of the 2 pairs of glasses or end up over them and push them harder into the side of my head
- throw the big old hearing protection over that and you get more pressure around the ears

I will probably get some prescription safety glasses at some point, but that won’t get rid of all of these problems.

So…I’m wondering how other people deal with this? I’m not thrilled at the idea of buying one of those big darth vader masks and strapping on an air pump, but maybe it’s the only way to get around it.

I’m guessing that denial is going to be the most common way of dealing with it…it’s been effective for me so far…but really, I could put more effort into not going blind, deaf and contracting emphysema and wood allergies.

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

18 replies so far

View ajosephg's profile


1880 posts in 3528 days

#1 posted 05-28-2010 03:28 PM

I like a face shield because you can wear all the other stuff underneath it.

-- Joe

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3447 days

#2 posted 05-28-2010 03:34 PM

I wear glasses to read and they have a bifocal bottom, with clear glass on top. I use these in the shop. They have hardened lenses, but I dont know that they are actually safety glasses. I only wear a dust mask when I am sanding and only wear hearing protection with tools that are very loud like the router. I have the shooter type muffs.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3041 days

#3 posted 05-28-2010 03:49 PM

I need bifocals for every day use. However, I discovered that I can get by very well in the workshop with a pair of single lens safety glasses. The advantage is that they are cheap. I paid less than $50 total for the safety glasses. By looking at my prescription for both near and far they solved for the right prescription for the mid range. I have excellent focus from about 2’ to about 6’. That’s all I need in the shop. I can even read with them on if I hold the document about 2’ away. The only problem is reading the clock on the other side of the shop and I look over the top of my glasses for that.

I always wear hearing protection when running a particularly loud machine. The planer is the worst.

I used to use a dust mask when sanding but with my new Festool sander and dust extractor I don’t need it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dbhost's profile


5705 posts in 3199 days

#4 posted 05-28-2010 03:59 PM

FWIW, you CAN get prescription safety glasses made. I do not use them, but I used to years ago…. I use a face shield and my prescriptions on anything where my hands get near cutting blades such as the table saw, router, band saw etc… However for stuff like lawn work, I just use regular safety glasses… Oh and the face shield rig goes over my 3M down firing respirator just fine with no fogging…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 3167 days

#5 posted 05-28-2010 04:03 PM

My glasses are safety glasses. I have both clear and sun glasses that made as safety glasses.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#6 posted 05-28-2010 05:01 PM

There are safety glasses made to go over glasses

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View MisterCat's profile


22 posts in 2890 days

#7 posted 05-28-2010 05:19 PM

I had the same issues with glasses, but have developed the following practices:

  1. In-the-ear ear plugs are much more comfortable for me than the shooter type and they get in the way much less. McMaster-Carr sells boxes of a hundred pairs for $30 or so. Get the ones with cord that hangs around your neck, so they are always handy when you start using loud things. I wear them anytime I’m using a power tool.
  2. My normal prescription glasses are safety rated, but I really hate dust in my eyes, so I wear the chemical splash protection goggles over them to keep dust out. I also have a set of prescription safety glasses but I find the goggles do a better job keeping dust out so wear them most often.
  3. When sanding or doing a lot of routing, I’ll wear a half-face dust mask. I think I ordered the mask and filters from McMaster-Carr to, as their web site does a great job of presenting the information, and they deliver quickly. I remember fumbling with the straps the first time I wore it to get the suspension straps to sit away from where my glasses rode.
View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 3958 days

#8 posted 05-28-2010 05:29 PM

I had prescription safety glasses made… it was the only answer for me…

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View CyBorge's profile


79 posts in 3142 days

#9 posted 05-28-2010 05:35 PM

Maybe I’m missing something obvious here. What about contact lenses?

-- "How can I be lost if I've got nowhere to go?"

View Jero's profile


79 posts in 2953 days

#10 posted 05-28-2010 06:33 PM

Before contacts I wore prescription safety glasses, which kept most of the stuff out of my eyes. If I had some extreme cutting I’d put large goggles over the glasses. I also wear ear muffs while using most tools, and wear a 3m 7500 respirator while doing most wood cutting. While wearing the glasses, eaf muffs and respirator I’ve been compared to an “alien”. I dont have much for a dust collection system so I end up wearing the mask most of the time while doing any wood cutting.

Wearing everything may be kind of inconvenient, but health issues are WAY more inconvenient.

-- Jeremy - Marshfield, WI

View MrsN's profile


985 posts in 3492 days

#11 posted 05-28-2010 07:05 PM

I have a couple of pair of perscription safety glasses that I keep on hand in case my contacts get fried. I used to use them regularly, but I prefer to have contacts and regular safety glasses. Mine look like regular glasses until I put the safety sheilds on. At school I have a few pair of safety glasses designed to go over reguar glasses for kids who need them.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4092 days

#12 posted 05-28-2010 09:03 PM

My prescription glasses are safety rated, so unless I’ve got a dusty environment (which basically means the router table, or underneath the house, because my tools generally have decent dust collection), I just wear my glasses.

When I need more eye dust protection, I have a pair of goggles I got at a paintball shop. They’ve got a fan in them that blows through a little bit of foam that keeps the goggles clear. Seemed like they have roughly the same sized foam in them that the ventilated shields have, so unless I was going to drop the $1200 on the 3M positive pressure system that was a reasonable intermediate step.

When I need a ventilator I wear a standard mouth and nose hardware store activated carbon filter ventilator. It pushes on the goggles a little bit, but I still managed to get the crawl space insulated and vapor barrier sealed with both on and it wasn’t all that bad.

For hearing protection, I like ear muffs, but I picked up a couple of those AO Safety in-ear headphones super cheap off of at some point, and now when I go out to the shop I put them in, fire up the MP3 player with all the podcasts I never have a chance to listen to, and never feel tempted to take ‘em off and put ‘em back on and all that.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View TheDane's profile


5401 posts in 3630 days

#13 posted 05-28-2010 09:06 PM

I have prescription no-line bifocal safety glasses … they stay in a case on my workbench and I wear them any time I am in the shop. They came with plastic side-shields, but I don’t use the shields very much.

If I’m doing something that will throw a lot of debris in the air, I have a face shield that keeps the chips & sawdust away.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View stevenmadden's profile


174 posts in 3056 days

#14 posted 05-28-2010 10:00 PM

Here I am at the optometrist office with my new (goofy lookin’) shop glasses:

I went in and told them that I wanted them to be as big as possible with shatter resistant lenses and that they had to fit over my respirator. They found me a pair of sunglasses that fit the bill. I also wear ZEM hearing protection ( ), the shooter style leave a gap between my big goofy glasses and the side of my face where sound gets through.


View Brian024's profile


358 posts in 3367 days

#15 posted 05-28-2010 10:08 PM

I wear my regular eye glasses when working in the shop + all the other safety gear. I used to have a pair of safety glasses that were suppose to “fit over” my eye glasses, but fell off into my table saw blade when I was cutting one time and after that I said no more.

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