The History of Eye Protection and How It Has Evolved

Posted by Bridget Reed on

Looking for a good bathroom break read? You’ve come to the right place. While you’re contemplating important subjects like world peace, what’s for lunch, and why you answered “you too” to the store clerk who told you, “thank you for shopping with us,” you can peruse this article and learn about the history and evolution of eye protection. 

The Need for Safety Eyewear

Eye injuries date back to antiquity, and some of the earliest known records of eye protection date back to 15th-century texts. Some of the first materials used to protect the eyes included wire, mesh, glass, whalebone, and other (bad) ideas. 

Eye injuries can be severe and even fatal. Had Goliath worn a pair of safety glasses, the battle between him and David might have had a much different outcome. 

The Invention of Safety Glass

Leave it to the minds of creative geniuses to develop better methods of eye protection. Safety glass, a type of glass that didn’t shatter into large, jagged pieces, was first developed in 1909 by 

French chemist Édouard Bénédictus. 

Using two sheets of glass with a layer of celluloid material between, Bénédictus created glass that bent and buckled under the force of a blunt force impact instead of shattering. 

What About Safety Goggles?

In the early 1900s, Garrett Morgan invented a gas mask and later received a patent for safety goggles, a feature he had designed to be worn inside the mask itself but discovered it could be worn alone for eye protection. 

His goggles are the prototype that has been used to create the versions of safety eyewear we know today. 

Updated Materials

Safety glass? Check. 

Goggles? Check.

Sadly, glass (of any kind) and goggles just didn’t mix. The industry needed a better, more durable material for safety eyewear that could resist breaking and shattering and better protect the eyes. 

The invention of Columbia Resin 39 (CR-39) in the 1950s was a step in the right direction, but resin (although not glass) still had the ability to fracture and shatter. In the 1990s, polycarbonate was invented and became the world standard in safety eyewear material. 

Polycarbonate is lightweight, naturally UV-blocking, shatter, and impact-resistant, making it the most sought-after material for protective eyewear today. Polycarbonate is known for its 10/10 clarity. No point in having the most durable, impact-resistant material if it isn’t clear as day!

The Need for Standardization

Now that we had the perfect material for the perfect eye protection, we needed a perfect solution for ensuring that safety standards were being met across the board. 

The FDA got involved in 1971, mandating shatter resistance standards for prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses, but safety eyewear didn’t get a seat at the table. 

Unfortunately, the regulation of safety eyewear didn’t really happen until 1968 and wasn’t updated again until 2015. In 2015, OSHA adopted new ANSI rules to protect workers and standardize the level of safety required for each pair of safety glasses. 

The current gold standard for protective eyewear is the ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification, which by the way, is a standard feature in every pair of Stoggles. Stoggles frames and lenses are both made from polycarbonate. Polycarbonate lenses and frames — can you name a more iconic duo??

Since then, we’ve been better able to protect our vision, but let’s be honest: the aesthetic appeal of most safety goggles and glasses… sucks.

Stoggles: The Height of the Evolution of Protective Eyewear 

Enter Stoggles, a hybrid combination of eyeglasses and goggles that places importance on safety first but style also first. 

Early Beginnings

The vision for Stoggles might not have been realized until 2020, but co-founders Max Greenberg and Rahul Khatri met long before that, in 2013, at design school. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the entrepreneurs realized a need: protective eyewear that was also comfortable and stylish. They created a solution, and in 2020, Stoggles was born.

More Than Just Safety Eyewear

In a market flooded with bargain bin glasses and workplace-issued clunky specs, Stoggles offers a different and better option. Available in numerous frame shapes and colors, it’s easy to customize a pair to fit any activity or outfit. What’s more, you won’t find more protective features in standard safety glasses. 

Every pair of Stoggles comes standard with:

  • ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification. Impact and shatter resistance are in every pair. Trust your Stoggles to keep you safe whether you’re at work, at play, or mowing your lawn. 
  • Anti-fog coating. Foggy lenses are annoying and dangerous. Stoggles are fog-resistant to eliminate the hassle. 
  • Side and top shields. Protecting every part of your eye area is important, and we mold our top and side shields directly onto the frame to ensure you’re protected.
  • Blue light and UV protection. Stoggles block out blue light and UV light to keep your eyes safe, whether you’re in the sun or behind a screen. 
  • Prescription available. Need safety glasses but also need them in your prescription? We handle that. Upload your prescription through our easy Rx portal right on our site. Once we have your Rx, we’ll build your custom lenses.

Soon enough, you’ll be sporting your Stoggles and smugly saying, “Thanks, they’re prescription” to everyone who gives you a compliment. It’s that easy. 

Protection, comfort, and personality. If Stoggles were human, we’re pretty confident they’d get plenty of right swipes. 

Eye Safety: Now, It’s Fashionable

The next time you reach for your safety eyewear, you’ll know its humble roots. Whether or not that helps you with your home improvement project or weeding your lawn is debatable, but we’re sure you’ll be hard to beat on trivia night. 

If you don’t own safety eyewear, hit us up before something hits you! Stoggles make it easy to protect your vision and look good doing it. Keeping your eyes safe is important, and Stoggles makes it on trend. 


The history of eye protection – how far have we come? | Points de Vue

Safety glass | Definition, Types, & Facts | Britannica

Black Inventor Garrett Morgan Saved Countless Lives with Gas Mask and Improved Traffic Lights | Scientific American

OSHA Adopts Final Rule on Eye and Face Protection | EHS Today

Spectacle lenses - from plain glass to Columbia Resin | OPTIK-AKADEMIE

Stoggles, a New Spin on Safety Goggles, Seals $40 Million | dot.LA

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