Can you put prescription lenses in safety sunglasses?

construction worker wearing safety sunglasses

Can you put prescription lenses in safety sunglasses? Yes, you can, and the result will be a pair of sunglasses that protects you from the sun's damaging rays and debris possibly flying into your eye while you work outside.

Let's take a closer look at safety glasses, safety sunglasses, where you can find prescription safety sunglasses and what to look for when shopping for safety shades.

What are safety sunglasses?

Safety glasses are designed to protect your eyes while working with materials, such as wood shavings, sparks and certain kinds of dust that could cause injuries or even blindness.

Safety sunglasses, similar to safety glasses, have thick frames that cup around the eyes, eliminating the large gap glasses usually allow between the lenses and the face of the wearer.

For home building crews, loggers, power company workers climbing poles and others who work outside in potentially dangerous conditions, prescription safety sunglasses offer three benefits:

  • Prescription lenses that enable the worker to see clearly.

  • A barrier from sparks, wood shavings and more that could cause eye injuries.

  • A shield from the sun's dangerous ultraviolet rays while working outside.

Can safety sunglasses have prescription lenses?

It’s great that prescription safety glasses are out there, and that regular safety glasses can also offer UV protection, but can safety sunglasses have prescription lenses? Can you get the best of both worlds?

Prescription lenses can’t be put in just any frames; they need to be optical grade, meaning they have special grooves that can fit and hold prescription lenses in place.

The good news is that optical grade safety glasses are available, and you can get them with clear, tinted (sun-ready) or even photochromic (transition) prescription lenses.

Where can I buy prescription safety sunglasses?

You can buy prescription safety sunglasses in-store at LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and Oakley Stores. Online retailers include:

  • Safety Gear Pro

  • Safety Glasses USA

  • Sport RX

  • RX Safety

  • Safe Vision

  • Cheap Glasses 123

Will vision insurance cover prescription safety sunglasses?

Just as it’s possible to purchase regular prescription sunglasses through some vision insurance plans, prescription safety sunglasses may also be covered.

Talk to your vision insurance provider to learn if prescription safety sunglasses are included in your benefits.

Things to consider when buying prescription safety sunglasses

Whether you’re purchasing a pair of safety glasses or safety sunglasses — prescription or not — some product descriptions should be considered over others:

Convertible temples: The point of safety glasses is to protect your eyes from loose materials. No matter how well your safety glasses or safety sunglasses fit, the thick frames will help protect your eyes, but you won’t receive full coverage unless your glasses can adjust to your face. On certain pairs of safety glasses, the temples can shrink or expand to accommodate your head size.

Flexible frames: If you’re relying on safety glasses or safety sunglasses to protect your eyes, make sure the frames are durable. More flexible frames are less likely to break, which ensures your safety eyewear protects your eyes.

Detachable strap: Depending on the field you work in (or the sport you play), you may want the option to strap your safety glasses or sunglasses firmly onto your head. Having a detachable strap makes for easy storage, too.

ANSI Z87-2 approved: Safety glasses have to be rated according to this scale. If they are ANSI Z87-2 approved, that means they can endure high impacts, keeping your eyes safe even in harsh conditions.

Prescription-ready: If you’re purchasing prescription safety glasses or sunglasses, make sure the frames you select are optical grade or prescription-ready. If a safety glasses or safety sunglasses frame doesn't have this designation, you can't add your prescription lenses.

BOTTOM LINE: Whatever you do, be it work or hobby, protect your eyes. For example, if you're a metal sculptor working inside, wear safety glasses. If you create your metal artwork outside, wear prescription safety sunglasses.

WOULD PRESCRIPTION SAFETY SUNGLASSES HELP YOU ON THE JOB? Shop for prescription safety sunglasses at an optical store near you or an online eyewear retailer.

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