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History and Evolution of Safety Glasses


Safety glasses, goggles and polarized safety glasses are mandatory safety wear worn to protect the eye and surrounding areas from harmful chemicals and impairment of vision from impact hazards. The American National Security Institute (ANSI) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have set standards for protective eyewear. Everybody, who works in an atmosphere prone to accidents, must wear protective eyewear to ensure the safety of their eyes.

Nowadays, we have different safety eyewear specifically designed for use in various environments. It is amusing to note that protection eyewear was an accidental discovery by French scientist Edouard Benedictus, who found that a flask coated with cellulose nitrogen when hitting the floor did not break apart and lose its contour and also that the pieces clung together without entirely shattering like normal glass. Soon he realized the potential use of coating windshield of vehicles with liquid plastic so that injuries from glass shards caused in motor accidents can be minimized. In 1909, Julius King Optical company and American Optical together succeeded in designing the first-ever safety goggle called SANIGLAS. From there on, the safety glass scenario has witnessed tremendous growth and branching. Protective glasses were invented for various industries like steel melting industries, forging industries and construction, laboratory, sports, healthcare, etcetera. By mid-90s, the Ophthalmology Department greatly associated with protective eyewear since the appropriate connection between the two became more understood. Prescription glasses were given to people with vision impairment.

ANSI reformed their standards of protective eyewear in around 1979, which enabled safety glass industries to produce more lightweight and practical protective gear for the eye, suitable for diverse applications. The glasses became more fashionable while still being functional. Optical companies followed suit in producing more likeable glasses as they attracted more workers to want to wear them. Formation of perspiration fog inside the glass was a great nuisance for many years. After in-depth testing and examination, anti-fog glasses were developed to help workers in hot and humid industrial conditions. Anti-glare and anti-reflection glasses gave protection from exposure to high-intensity light from welding and forging industries were devised. At the moment, we have safety glasses that can even prevent ultra-violet (UV rays) and other radiations.

With the advancement of science and the implementation of newer technologies, we have great options for protection glasses to choose from, according to our requirement and field of work. The glasses have become more economic, convenient and comfortable.