Whether you’re channeling your inner woodsperson or prepping the family Christmas tree ala Clark Griswold, the last thing on your mind is probably eye safety. That’s okay. The team at Stoggles has your back (and your eyes).
We’ll help you understand the risks involved when using a chainsaw and how you can keep your eyes safe.
Operating a chainsaw is extremely dangerous. You should probably read that again. Even if you’ve used one numerous times, there’s always a risk of an accident. The teeth on a chainsaw are made to cut and remove material quickly and efficiently; they don’t differentiate between flesh and foliage.
From debris to falling limbs to kickbacks from the tool itself, you need practice and education before you even hit the power button. While the general focus of chainsaw injuries is usually the chain, many more injuries are sustained from flying debris and from limbs that fall long after the chainsaw has been turned off. Hardhats, anyone?
Chainsaw speeds range from 55 to 60 miles per hour (yeah, as fast as a car). This means when accidents do happen, they happen fast and usually without warning. To operate a chainsaw correctly, there are numerous pieces of personal protective equipment, including safety eyewear.
How Dangerous Is Your Home?
You want data? We’ve got data. Eye-related injuries are more common than you think.
There are more than 2.5 million eye injuries each year in the United States alone, and about half of those occur at home. Of the accidents that occur at home, the most common place in the home where they happen is outside on your own lawn, with or without a chainsaw in operation.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology reports that injuries to the face from chainsaws can be devastating and cause total vision loss. As such, they recommend every household has a pair of ANSI-certified protective safety glasses that meet the ANSI standard for shatter resistance, which we’ll cover in a moment.
The Best Chainsaw-Proof Eye Protection
You don’t need to don a ski mask like Clark Griswald when operating a chainsaw. In fact, that probably wouldn’t give you the level of shatter and strike resistance you need. Instead, level up your look and opt for simple, highly protective eyewear that allows you to see what you’re doing and keep your eyes protected at the same time.
Here are seven features your safety eyewear should have to protect you while you’re at work with a chainsaw.
1. Shatter Resistance
There are three massive risks involved with chainsaw usage that involve strikes to the eye: debris, falling limbs or branches, and the chainsaw itself. To shield your eyes against both, you need ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification.
The American National Standards Institute is a non-governmental agency that helps develop testing and regulations that companies and private citizens can rely on to ensure certain safety standards.
This level of shatter resistance means your glasses have passed two important tests.
High velocity impact testing. This test involves firing a ball bearing at the eyewear. If the lenses or frame shatter or break, the glasses are out of the competition (zero points for second place).
High mass impact testing. For this test, a weighted ball bearing is dropped onto the surface of the eyewear. Again, the glasses can’t shatter or break. If they do, the manufacturer has to revamp their glasses.
Once protective eyewear has passed these two tests, it can hold the ANSI seal of approval. This means even if you’re making an elaborate ice sculpture for a crowd of tourists with a chainsaw, you’ll always stay safe, feel comfortable, and look cool (yes, that lazy pun was intentional).
2. UV Protection
Unless you’re building a cool secret tunnel, most of your chainsaw activity will likely take place outdoors. That means you need UV protection that won’t interfere with your vision.
UV rays age your eyes faster than they would age normally, which can place you at higher risk for developing age-related eye conditions like macular degeneration. In addition, the short-term risks of UV exposure aren’t any fun either.
Conditions like photokeratitis, which is basically a sunburn on your cornea, can leave your eye red, irritated, itchy, in pain, and with a feeling like you’ve got sawdust in your eye. These types of eye injuries can take days to weeks to heal and may or may not require medical attention. A simple solution? UV protective lenses.
Opt for safety eyewear that has UV blocking technology without tinting, so your eyes are safe from the sun, even on cloudy days. Stoggles are made from polycarbonate material, which is a polymer that is naturally UV blocking — the bright solution to our favorite bright star.
3. Side and Top Shields
One of the biggest mistakes chainsaw operators make is deciding to wear their regular eyeglasses or sunglasses while they work. Not only are these glasses not made to withstand the sheer force of the debris and potential kickback of a chainsaw, but they also leave your eyes vulnerable at the top near your eyebrows and on the sides of your temples. Not to mention you’ll likely end up breaking your favorite pair of shades.
Another risk? Seasonal allergies. When you’re cutting pollinating foliage, there’s always a risk of eye irritation, but side and top shields can help prevent plant reproductive parts from getting jiggy in your eyes.
In terms of debris, you need side and top shields to protect your eyes from wood chips, foliage, and stray holiday tree limbs heavy with sap (or squirrels hiding in trees). Here’s looking out, Clark.
4. Anti-Fog Lenses
Foggy lenses are annoying, but when you’re working with a power tool, they’re also incredibly dangerous. Fogging lenses require removal and wiping, and that’s a pretty significant issue when you’re wielding a chainsaw.
Fogging happens when hot air hits the cool lens of your glasses. If you wear a protective mask to prevent debris from entering your mouth, your glasses could be more prone to fogging because of your breath. That’s super annoying; we can’t exactly stop breathing, so what’s a person to do?
Fogging lenses take you off task, making it difficult for you to get your work done and creating room for mistakes. One minute you’re wiping down your lenses; the next, you’ve turned your perfectly sculpted boxwoods into box stumps.
Anti-fog drops and wipes can help in the short term, but you’ll eventually need to reapply the drops or wipe the lenses again to make sure your lenses don’t fog. Instead, opt for anti-fog coated lenses, which are a more permanent solution that can keep your vision crystal clear on even the steamiest days. Anti-fog lenses that are dipped (like the ones from Stoggles) have a thicker layer so that they last longer than others.
5. Blue Light Blocking
Blue light gets a lot of attention due to our exposure from televisions, tablets, and smartphones. However, the biggest and most powerful source of blue light is the sun. When you’re working outdoors, it’s vital to protect your eyes from UV rays and their not-so-distant cousin, blue light.
These high-energy waves of light can penetrate your cornea and reach your retina. The retina is home to retinal cells that are responsible for your vision. Unlike other cells, they don’t regenerate. That means when they’re damaged; your vision is too. Most of the time, it’s irreversible (like sending an embarrassing text to the wrong person… but way worse).
Researchers aren’t sure how much damage blue light can do to our eyes, but in the short term, it’s clear that blue light can cause eye strain and fatigue and even interfere with your circadian rhythm. Anything that tampers with your sleep when you’ve got chainsaw duties the next day is a bad idea.
As an aside, your eyes will also be protected from blue light when you snap a picture of the mid-sized live oak you just single-handedly fell in your yard (with your HOA’s written approval, of course).
Let’s face it. Comfort is essential, especially in terms of personal protective equipment. When your personal protective equipment isn’t comfortable, it spends more time in your toolbox than on your body. We’ve all been victims of cut-rate safety glasses that make it difficult to see and feel heavy on our faces. Maybe that’s why Clark (and Leatherface) opted for ski masks after all.
For supreme comfort, our Stoggles are made with polycarbonate material which is lightweight, comfortable, and provides crystal clear optics. We also streamline our side and top shields, so they don’t interfere with your line of vision.
We also understand that not everyone’s head is the same circumference, so we offer our Stoggles in several different sizes so you can get a fit that doesn’t slip down your nose or pinch your temples. Comfortable eyewear means you’re more likely to be compliant in wearing them.
7. Prescription Ready
If you wear corrective lenses, you definitely need them when you’re using a chainsaw. Unfortunately, the available options for safety glasses with vision correction haven’t always been that ergonomically advantageous. Goggles over your eyeglasses? Immediate no.
Keeping in mind that comfort equals compliance, we offer all our Stoggles with your customized vision correction prescription. We handle all prescriptions in-house, saving you the headache of shopping around and helping you avoid wearing two sets of glasses on your head. You’ll never have to choose between prescription and protection again.
These safety specs might seem like a tall order for protective eyewear, but at Stoggles, we make it easy to keep your eyes safe and comfortable. You’ll find all of these safety features pre-loaded in every single pair of Stoggles we sell.
Stoggles: Sawing Through the Competition
Take it from us (and practically anyone who’s ever experienced an eye-related injury); wear protective safety glasses when you work with power tools. Your vision is too important to toy with, and Stoggles makes it easy for you to get all the protection you need in a fit that’s supremely comfortable.
In addition to comfort and protection, we also give you options like lens shape and color choice. To be honest, we all love fully customizable products. If wearing cat-eye lenses while you power up your chainsaw doesn’t say lady-boss, what does?
When you’re ready to take to the woods (and avoid any additional chainsaw-related puns), opt for the safety eyewear that protects as good as it feels. Stoggles help protect your vision with featherlight comfort you’ll forget you’re wearing.
Chainsaw Safety: Always Use Your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) | UGA Cooperative Extension
Chain saw injuries to the face | PubMed
Worst Ways to Put Out Your Eyes | ABC News
Eye Safety at Home: Preventing Eye Injuries | American Academy of Ophthalmology
What is Photokeratitis — Including Snow Blindness? | American Academy of Ophthalmology