Your weekends are usually spent in the woods, wearing your best camouflage clothing and the finest deer estrus urine cologne money can be. You’re a hunter by nature, and your fox-like predatory skills are matched only by your hawk-eye vision.
That vision is important, and if you aren’t protecting it with safety eyewear, you’re not only missing the mark, you’re placing your favorite pastime (and your vision) at risk.
We’re kinda safety nerds over here at Stoggles (but the cool kind of nerd). We know that safety matters at work and at home, which is why our glasses are ANSI Z87 Certified for basic impact protection.
At Stoggles, we understand that sometimes it’s hard to adopt a safety-first mentality, especially when your Thanksgiving dinner is squarely within firing range. We’ll give you a quick reference guide to finding the best protective eyewear you need for your next hunting trip.
What Are The Eye-Related Risks With Hunting?
You already know there are risks, but the payout? It’s worth it. Hunting is a favorite pastime by many. It’s actually considered a relatively safe recreational activity (even safer than golf).
You might think that the only real risk are the weapons you use to hunt your target, but that's not the case.
It’s not just firearms that risk your eye safety, although that’s a big part of it. As any outdoorsman can attest, the elements don’t make adjustments for humans; humans must adjust to their surroundings. This means if you aren’t wearing protective glasses, you could end up with shrubs, branches, or sap in your eyes.
The most common type of hunting-related eye injuries are:
- Lacerations from shrubs and branches
- Debris carried on the wind
- Shell casings and impact from firearm recoil
- Irritation and photokeratitis from sun exposure
In addition to your own risks, you’re also at the mercy of other hunters in the same area. Each year there are reports of hunters simply not seeing other hunters before they fire, and your risk increases if you are hunting in an extremely popular area.
How Common Are Eye Injuries?
It’s easy to say it will never happen to you… until it happens to you. Eye injuries are a lot more common than most people think, and they aren’t just reserved for construction workers on-the-job.
There are over 2.5 million eye-related injuries each year, and about half of those happen at home, which includes recreational and sports-related injuries. A quick search in the International Hunter Education Association U.S.A,’s database proves that accidents happen, frequently, and when you least expect them.
In recent years, there’s also been a notable increase in pediatric ocular trauma due to non-powder guns like BB guns and paintball guns. Teaching your kids to shoot with a BB gun is a common first step before arming them with something more powerful to hunt. Wearing safety glasses should be a must, even in your own backyard. Your kid will thank you for the vision protection when they do not, in fact, shoot their eye out.
Because there are 600,000 sports or recreational eye injuries each year, it just makes sense to protect your eyes. Hunting is an investment in your time and money, and not investing in your eye safety could mean the loss of ability to participate in the sport you love.
“I’ll Just Wear My Sunglasses.”
Famous last words. It’s not a good idea unless you like the thought of wearing an eye patch for the rest of your life if you get an eye injury. We know you’re partial to your wraparound polarized shades, but they just aren’t made to protect you from the risks you’ll encounter when you’ve got your trophy buck in your sights.
In case you're wondering if your regular eyeglasses will do the trick, those are also a no-go. Regular eyeglasses aren’t made to withstand the extreme risks related to recreational hunting. Glasses can shatter, making a bad situation even worse, and costing you extra money for new specs you could’ve spent on new tree cams or tactical clothing.
What About Ballistic Rated Glasses?
It’s easy to get confused about ballistic-rated glasses. Naturally, you think if you’re using a firearm, you need glasses that are ballistics rated, but that’s not the case.
A ballistics rating is only issued by the military for military personnel. When issuing a ballistics rating, the military is concerned with heavy artillery. We’re talking high-speed impact and fragmentation standards that go above and beyond the type of ammunition and weaponry associated with hunting.
Bottom line: Unless you’re on active duty (and we don’t mean expert level on Call of Duty), you can probably get the protection you need from glasses that meet the civilian shatter resistance standard developed by the American National Standards Institute or “ANSI.” We’ll cover that in just a moment.
Seven Tips for Selecting the Perfect Hunting Glasses
You need safety eyewear that is protective, functional, and comfortable enough that you’ll actually keep them on. Here, we’ll give you seven tips for finding the perfect hunting glasses. With these specs, you can still have crystal clear vision on your scope, whether you’re in a tree stand or a coffin blind.
1. Shatter Resistance
Back to ANSI. ANSI is a non-governmental agency that develops testing requirements for numerous products, including protective eyewear. When your safety glasses have the ANSI seal, it means they’ve passed two incredibly difficult tests (without shattering, breaking, or fragmenting).
High velocity impact test. This test involves firing a ball bearing at high speeds directly at the lenses of safety eyewear. Shattering or breaking means they lose the showdown.
High mass impact test. The high mass impact test involves dropping a weighted ball bearing onto the top of the safety lenses. Again, the lenses can’t bust, or their ANSI certification is, well, busted.
For hunters, these tests mean your double-barrel shotgun won’t crush your eye socket if the recoil on that sucker is a little more than your shoulder was expecting.
2. Go for 360-Degree Protection
You don’t have to wear tight, uncomfortable nerd goggles to get the all-over protection you need in the field. Side and top shields do the trick, especially when you’re in thick foliage. Brush, shrubs, and tree limbs aren’t on your radar when you’re tracking, which means you could easily take a limb to the eye.
It’s not just lacerations you’ll need to worry about: Seasonal allergies can also attack your eyes, cutting your hunting trip short and sending you back to base camp (or your truck) for eye drops and allergy meds.
Side and top shields offer protection against dust and allergens that could take up residency in your eyes. Side and top shields protect your eyes in places that regular glasses leave vulnerable, like the space near your eyebrows and across each temple.
3. UV Protection
Sun damage can age your eyes faster than a rockstar’s lifestyle. Protect your eyes from sun exposure and the potential threat of early-onset macular degeneration by opting for protective eyewear that offers UV-blocking lenses.
Just because your lenses are tinted doesn’t mean they offer protection. Stoggles safety eyewear, for instance, features crystal clear lenses made from polycarbonate, a polymer that is naturally UV blocking.
That means you can keep your vision sharp while simultaneously protecting your eyes from the sun, allowing you a higher level of predatory edge.
4. Anti-Fog Lenses
A must-have for any outdoorsman is eye protection that has anti-fog lenses. Fogging glasses present a bigger safety risk than you think.
When you remove your glasses to wipe down fog, you place your eyes at risk of injury because they aren’t shielded. Second, you’re taken off task, which can leave room for mistakes. One minute you’re taking your glasses off to wipe down steam; the next, your buddy’s extremely long draw length sends his arrow right into your eyeball.
If you wear prescription specs or just have a really big head (physically speaking, not figuratively), you need protective eyewear that fits you and corrects your vision at the same time.
Stoggles offers safety eyewear in your own prescription, and we take care of your scripts in-house, saving you time and money. Because, let’s be honest, wearing goggles over your eyeglasses isn’t comfortable. When you start to sweat, you aren’t going to wear them.
Likewise, when you have protective eyewear that doesn’t fit exactly right, it can interfere with your vision and your concentration. Stoggles are available in several different sizes made to fit your skull like a glove (or just, you know, a good pair of glasses).
6. Blue Light Blockers
Blue light is a high-energy wave emitted from the sun and electronic devices like LED televisions, tablets, and smartphones. While you might not think blocking blue light will help you bag a buck, you’d be mistaken.
Blue light filtration has been shown to increase sharpness and improve depth perception, which could be the deciding factor on whether or not to take a shot or wait. Not to mention, talking about your blue light blockers is a great conversation starter when you and your hunting buddies have been sitting in a blind for hours.
If your glasses aren’t comfortable, you aren't going to wear them. Protective eyewear that spends more time inside your backpack than on your face isn’t protecting you from anything.
For safety eyewear to be supremely comfortable, you need a few things:
- A lightweight, comfortable material
- Streamlined design with little to no hardware
- Lenses and frames that don’t obstruct your line of vision
Who could create such a sleek piece of essential hunting equipment? Stoggles. Made from lightweight, durable polycarbonate material, our protective eyewear fits as comfortably as your favorite Wayfarers and protects like the safety glasses you wore in high school chemistry.
Sharp Shooting Stoggles
If you’ve been searching for the perfect protective eyewear to take into the field, the hunt is over with Stoggles. Our eyewear is supremely comfortable and won’t interfere with your gear or your scope, so you can keep your eyes protected without thinking twice about them.
Plus, since we handle prescriptions in-house, you’ll never have to choose between prescription and protection. We all love the classic car-ride game of “Would you rather?” but we don’t ever want to have to choose between being able to see and keeping our eyeballs safe. At Stoggles, we don’t play favorites — you can have the prescription you require with the protection you need.
We also offer our safety eyewear in colors that keep you concealed in any terrain. From clear to dark moss green and charcoal, we’ve got shades that won’t cause a scene. You trust the tactical experts to outfit you with the right gear to make you the marksman that you are; trust Stoggles to keep your eyes protected all season long.
Hunter Incident Database | International Hunter Education Association
New Study Finds Large Increase in Non-Powder Gun-Related Eye Injuries |vNationwide Children’s
Sports related ocular injuries | PMC
ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020: Current Standard for Safety Glasses | ANSI
Effects of Blue Light on Dynamic Vision | PMC
Hunting Is Safer Than Golf and Most Other Activities (Not to Mention Football, Basketball and Soccer) | National Shooting Sports