Safety Glasses Without a Headache portal
The following is a long discovery process that I had to go thru with wearing safety glasses.
Immediate eye strain, difficulty focusing when putting on safety glasses. Headache after prolonged (a day) wear of safety glasses. If you have these symptoms, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! And, THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE ON THE INTERNET THAT YOU WILL FIND ANSWERS!
Warning: vision loss occurs if you ever feel your eye muscles contracting rapidly (twitching). This is when eyesight loss occurs. If you eye muscles are starting to twitch, remove you safety glasses if it is safe to do so, and allow your eyes to rest. Do not wear glasses that cause eye muscle twitching.
Symptoms started when I was in high school. During the brief period that I had to put on my safety glasses for labs, I found out my eyes were giving me problems. It seemed at the time like my eyes were trying to focus on the glasses themselves (which are very close to the eyes of course) instead of focusing on objects.
Fast forward some years, and I had to wear safety glasses most of the time at work. Very big problems started appearing no matter what I have tried. My eyes would get eyestrain, I would have difficulty focusing my eyes while wearing safety glasses, and I would get a bad headache at the end of the day.
Even after the glasses were taken off, my eyes would strain themselves driving back home. At home, focusing at objects became a problem, with severe eye strain required to focus my eyes. Severe eyestrain was required to focus on the computer screen at home, while more distant objects were easier.
And all this time, everyone treated me like they did not know what I was describing. Needless to say, they had no idea what I was going thru.
What I have found
1) Many more people that you, I, opticians, and businesses realize cannot wear safety glasses.
2) The problem IS NOT due to astigmatism. On the weekend (when my eyes rested a bit after being raped during workweek), computerized eye exam showed 20/20 vision, very tiny astigmatism (no need to even correct).
3) Everyone freely admits that polycarbonate safety glasses have severe distortion due to being made of plastic and injection molded.
4) The problem is not strictly due to material (more on this later).
5) From my market research I found that many people are familiar with the problem. A polycarbonate safety glasses maker/seller rep said nothing helps because noone caters to the market, and she said all goggles will have distortion. More than one person who had the same problem as I do were convinced it was because of astigmatism, while they did or did not wear glass prescription glasses without any problems due to astigmatism.
6) My optician guesstimated that 0.5% of his clients could not tolerate polycarbonate at all, with symptoms exactly like mine. I believe that to be a much higher number if only those who must wear safety glasses long term are counted.
Things that I have tried
1) All safety glasses designs that I could get my hands on. Some were a little better in that the eyestrain would come on later. But none were comfortable after short-term wearing.
2) Safety glasses that were described to be "low-distortion". I have even tried safety glasses made from real glass and advertised to have zero distortion. The results - I could not even put them on. Low Distortion Glasses Example
3) Other designs such as safety goggles. And I was laughed at. People thought I was wearing the very ugly goggles because I had nothing better to do. As you can guess, I tried goggles because they have a relatively thin and flat sheet of plastic in front. Did not work.
4) Safety glasses described as "optically correct". I have found they are nothing to support the claim. Not any better. Optically Correct Glasses Example
5) Glass safety glasses from an optician. That is, a frame and "zero prescription" lens bought separately. No luck.
What do I see?
I would be very surprised if I am the only one who sees these effects, but this is what happens with my eyes. If I hold up safety glasses at the distance of my hand, and look thru them, and move glasses around, I see visible distortion when looking thru the glasses. What I see is as if those safety glasses were prescription glasses, either magnifying or making objects smaller. Additionally, I can visibly see different areas on the glasses affection my field of vision differently, because those glasses are not at all uniform in thickness.
When I put them on, objects visibly and significantly enlarge or diminish, and seem to come closer to my eyes, again as if I put on prescription glasses. Objects start to pop out as if from a 3D effect, which tells me that my eyes are significantly straining to focus to a very close distance.
What do they say?
They say that even though polycarbonate safety glasses introduce distortion, it will not affect your eyes. They also say that as long as your eyes are at the right distance from the safety glasses, the curvature of the lens will not affect your eyesight as it is supposedly equidistant from the center of your eye (for safety glasses that are very curved or that curve to your head).
What do I say?
ANY GLASSES THAT ARE NOT GEOMETRICALLY AND PHYSICALLY AS FLAT AS A PANE OF WINDOW GLASS WILL ACT AS LENSES, AND DESTROY MY EYESIGHT BY CAUSING MY EYE MUSCLES TO IMPROPERLY ATTEMPTING TO FOCUS ON OBJECTS.
THE ONLY SAFE SAFETY GLASSES ARE A FLAT PIECE OF MATERIAL, PREFERABLY LOW DISTORTION MATERIAL LIKE GLASS OR TRIVEX.
ADDITIONALLY, I now believe the following
Everything else that will interfere with proper eye focusing is what is usually found with safety glasses, being:
- My peripheral vision is very wide (I can easily notice and observe details at my sides without moving my head or eyes), which is good for my eyesight health, but may be a big factor with safety glasses. All glasses restrict peripheral vision, and in the opinion of many alternative doctors, will long term only make vision worse, requiring bigger and bigger prescription strengths.
- Optical irregularities and distortions: safety glasses are made in a very different way to what a pane of glass is made, which is for all purposes flat. Safety glasses are molded (or computer-control machined).
- Scratches and smudges cause my eye to focus on them.
- All eyewear must not be made of the cheapest and worst material, polycarbonate, but must be trivex or glass
- Like other medical problems that are not immediately noticeable, problems with curved plastic glasses and safety glasses must be widespread, but people do not notice it immediately. Even larger term problem is vision loss due to prescription lenses because they restrict peripheral vision and do not exercise eye muscles (both for movement and focus).
- Curved/spherical lens design (to curve around your head for a sleek look) makes prescription glasses lenses instead if they are not at just the perfect distance and position from your eyes, and if you are not looking dead straight thru them.
Findings from when I attempted to go thru a professional optician
- Opticians and optical shops operate on a specific mindset. Their only business model (forced by insurance companies to an equal degree) is to only be able to sell a limited selection of frames separately from lenses themselves. They do not carry "non-prescription" lenses as that is against their mode of operation. Trying to order no-prescription safety glasses from an optician is like going to a fancy restaurant to buy a glass of water.
- There is a complex interplay between individual opticians, insurance plans, and labs that they utilize for making the lenses. I had to do a large amount of homework to call several tens of opticians only to find that they were one of the following: a) did not do safety glasses (or they did not have safety frames), b) were not covered by my insurance plan, c) only worked with polycarbonate
- At one place, it cost me $200 for lenses, and $100 for frames, after insurance plan discounts. To basically get curved lenses that were the same as $30 "glass" safety glasses I once bought online.
- The reason retail ("corner pharmacy store") prescription glasses are much much cheaper than going thru an optician is because they are made of acrylic. The width between the eyes that is needed to set lenses' curvature is also not fitted to you, like all opticians do. Frames are made of plastic, lenses are made of acrylic, a poor optical quality material, and lenses are pressed into the frames by a machine, distorting the lenses due to the pressure of insertion. So, unlike what I thought before, you do not save money by trying to save in the wrong place. Do not rely on retail cheap reader's / reading glasses for more than short term wear. In terms of distortion, acrylics are not different from polycarbonate.
- There are no non-acrylic prescription glasses for sale (to bypass the optician), as they are individually fit for distance between the eyes and your lens prescription. There are no generic frame+lens combination like retail readers'.
- Trivex is not any more scratch resistant than polycarbonate, as it is just another type of plastic. (There was confusing information online)
After I have went thru the agony...
... of tens of opticians not having an idea about what I was talking about (because they only deal with a frame + a prescription lens that does not in any way affect your vision other than the prescription lens effect), I suggest the following when you will go thru the same process (if you will have to):
- Other types of material for safety glasses other than polycarbonate is available. There is Trivex (and if your optician does not know what that is, move on to another one), and several types of glass (high index, low index, etc). Yes, that is right. Safety glasses can be made of glass, if it is thick enough. And it will be under ANSI spec that your workplace may ask for. For safety use, the glass is simply made thick enough to withstand small impacts (but they are not shatterproof, and glasses are much heavier than polycarbonate)
- Do not do your eye exam right after workday. Your eyes will be tired and will suggest a wrong prescription, one that will only hurt you. Take a day off, or do the exam on the weekend. Do not try to save money in the wrong place with the eye exam -- if it is not done properly, it will hurt your vision in the long run. Call optician's office before the exam and ask if you need to come with someone else driving -- as some may do tests that will affect your driving ability temporarily if they give you an eye drop that dilates your eyes for the doctor to be able to see inside of your eye better.
- Make sure to discuss trial or return policy beforehand. Many people that I spoke to had their exam done, picked out frames they wanted, paid for it, came in to pick up glasses, optician saying to them that "this must work for you perfectly", only to have glasses unusable due to eyestrain. Try-out safety and prescription materials frames and lenses (I believe this to be many more people's problems that is admitted, ESPECIALLY FOR LONG-TERM USE)
- Your eyes may adjust, strain, or hurt a little for a short amount of time (a week) if you had new prescription made. But any problems after that time you must troubleshoot.
- This is idiotic in my opinion, but call the optician before coming over that they: a) do safety glasses, b) ACCEPT YOUR INSURANCE and your coverage, c) CARRY SAFETY FRAMES FROM YOUR INSURANCE (for idiotic reason they have different frames from each insurance company that they must use), and d) that they carry material such as Trivex and Safety Glass for safety glasses.
- If you are going to buy non-prescription safety lenses (a prescription of zero), that they are ASPHERIC (meaning as close to physically flat at least in front).
- Do my magnification test: hold glasses in your hand, look thru them from some distance away from your eyes, and look at objects thru the glasses, while moving them around. You should not see things shrinking and enlarging thru different portions of the lenses.
So, what worked?
Nothing did. my optician was researching whether safety lenses can be made aspheric, at least on the front surface (flat in front, curved in the back towards the face). For an unknown reason, he had informed me that this is not possible per the labs he was talking with. He said that NO MATERIAL (optical glass, polycarbonate, trivex, etc) could be made by labs as an aspheric lens. Of course, what I am really looking for is a flat sheet of glass, like from a window pane, cut and placed into frames. He has said that due to ANSI safety rating, with the thickness having to be a certain minimum number, none of those optical quality materials can be made into a flat sheet of material. If there are any opticians or anyone else reading this article who would know how to get a flat sheet of optical material into any kind of frames, then contact me right away.
If you do research online, these may be search terms, but I have gone thru this and found nothing of use: optically correct safety glasses, trivex safety glasses, zero distortion safety glasses, prescription safety glasses, glass safety glasses, no distortion safety glasses
With any glasses, always remember to keep them clean and scratch free (which for some materials will also make them shatterable). Many retail stores sell cheap lens microfiber cloth with a cleaning solution.
Also, I want to share happy news with you: it is possible and doable to improve your vision long-term, and get rid of glasses. This is information that no optician knows of, understands the principles of, and agrees to. You will need to do your research to convince yourself, as that is not my job, but those willing to find out will be able to find that information (you may contact me as well). Links to resources on how to cure your poor eyesight.
You are still reading? Good for you! I am not interested in those who would not put an effort into helping themselves. So, you might have noticed that I did not list any solutions in my lengthy article. That would be because I have still not found a complete solution to my problems. But I will do that no matter what it takes. I invite you to join me on my "Safety Glasses Without a Headache" forum page, so that together we can help ourselves.
I am also seeking funding to pursue manufacturing of my own safety glasses that would have none of the problems above. Contact me if you can help with information, licensing, or funding.