Dental professionals are hyper aware of the potential accidents that can happen on the job. It’s not every day that you encounter a close call with an injury or contamination, but you’ll be glad that you wore protection when you do. There’s even a few everyday reasons why you’ll be happy you chose to wear personal protective equipment like when a patient sneezes or a water jet goes rogue.
You’ll likely encounter plenty of splashes and splatters near your eye area while you are treating your patients, so it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of safety goggles to wear everyday, but what is the best kind to buy? Here’s a list of the best dental safety glasses:
Designed with safety in mind
Regular glasses leave your eyes vulnerable at the top of the lens near the eyebrow and on the sides near the temples. It’s possible that particles, splashes, and splatters can enter your eye area through these gaps. Glasses designed with safety in mind create a shield between the top of your lens and your brow and across each temple, ensuring your eyes have 360-degree protection.
Don’t crack under pressure
High-speed hand tools require you to use shatter-resistant lenses and frames. Typical, everyday glasses or sunglasses will never protect your eyes from dangerous strikes and could even shatter if they come into contact with these powerful tools. To ensure the utmost safety, look for the ANSI Z87.1 certification seal imprinted on your glasses.
To be ANSI compliant, your safety glasses pass both weight and velocity tests to ensure the frames and lenses don’t break when impacted. For ultimate shatter resistance, look for ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification. To earn this standard, lenses and frames undergo a weight test and a high velocity test. These ensure that the lenses and frames are shatterproof under extreme circumstances. The glasses must not crack, shatter, or break to pass both of these tests.
UV protective coating
It’s essential that your safety glasses offer UV protection because dental professionals work with UV ray emitting devices. UV protection and the coloration or darkness of your glasses are two separate specs. As such, clear safety glasses can offer you UV protection provided that they have been treated with UV protective coating.
When searching for the ultimate safety goggle, consider a pair made from polycarbonate material which is lightweight, crystal clear, and naturally UV blocking. This means your glasses will protect your eyes from harmful rays while also protecting them from spills and splatters.
Block blue light too…
You’ve just learned about protecting your eyes from UV light, so why not go the extra mile and consider protecting them from UV light’s not-so-distant cousin, too. Blue light rays are emitted from the sun and also from devices like tablets, computers, and smartphones. Blue light can also be emitted from certain types of commercial light bulbs.
You’ll want to consider buying glasses that block blue light as it can cause eye strain, fatigue, and even headaches. Hours spent reviewing dental records can leave you with blurry vision and can contribute to irreversible eye damage in the future. Although we aren’t sure how much damage blue light may cause our eyes, it’s better to be safe than sorry and protect them from it with blue light blocking glasses.
A necessary accessory: Anti-Fog Lenses
There is nothing worse than dealing with foggy glasses. Ok – maybe root canals, but glasses that continually fog, either from your breath or from coming into contact with different temperatures, present a two-part problem. The first? They take you off task as glasses that fog demand to be dealt with immediately. You need a good, clear view of your patients’ teeth while you work on them.
You’ll be taken off task while you attempt to deal with the fog on your glasses, which takes time and distracts you from your work, leaving the potential for mistakes. Second, it leaves your eyes vulnerable to injury. Any time you have to remove your glasses to wipe away the fog, your eyes are at risk of injury. Anti-fog lenses can prevent the constant need to wipe your glasses down. Historically, they work better than anti-fog wipes, which aren’t made to last longer than a few hours.
When you look good, you feel good
Impeccable style isn’t so much a requirement as it is a strong recommendation. Ultimately, dental professionals shouldn’t have to choose between protecting their eyes and retaining a sleek sense of style. Also, if you don’t love your glasses, you likely won’t wear them as often as you should (which is all the time).
Safety glasses that aren’t worn don’t protect your eyes from anything. When it comes to picking the right pair of safety glasses, you don't have to choose between fashion and function. You can have both. Do your research and invest in a pair from a company that offers different shapes and colors so you can fully customize your safety glasses to your favorite scrubs, signature style or simply your mood.