As a machinist, you know there’s nothing more important to your job than your eyes. Okay, your hands are a close second, but face it. If you lose your eyesight due to a rogue nut, bolt, or piece of shrapnel, you could be facing an immediate and untimely career change.
Because your eyes are so vital, you might even wear popular Machinist brand safety glasses. Designed to protect the eyesight of both machinists and others whose work risks their vision, these glasses might be the solution you need for staying safe at work.
We put them up against Stoggles, the eyewear that protects as great as it looks. We’ll tell you how both glasses compare and also give you the scoop on why safety eyewear is a necessity.
Do I Really Need Safety Glasses?
Yes, you really do. Why? Because you need your eyes.
Vision is arguably the most legit of the five senses (research pending). It’s also one of the only senses that, once destroyed, will likely never return. Your retinal cells, located in your retina, don’t regenerate. The sixth sense is a cool movie superpower but not very helpful for building a powerful new drill part.
While Christian Bale regained his weight after playing the role of a sleep-deprived machinist in 2004, if your retinal cells are damaged or destroyed, all or a portion of your vision goes with them.
How Vision Happens
The eyes are incredibly complex and protected only by a thin layer of gelatinous goo (the conjunctiva), a few sparse hairs (the eyelashes), a thin, ever-moving flap of skin (the eyelids), and a few delicate bones around the back and sides (the orbital structure).
These features are essential, but no one can do it alone. Considering the importance of vision and how it happens, it’s easier to understand the need for protective eyewear.
When light enters your eye through the iris, the lens helps to focus the light and pulls this focused light into the pupil. The pupil sends light to the retina, located in the back of the eye. The retina is also home to the macula, which is responsible for fine, detailed vision.
The retina sends the light information to the brain via the optic nerve, which interprets the light into images and tells you what you are seeing. This entire process takes place in literal nanoseconds, which is why you don’t experience a lag time when moving your eyes from one place to another.
It’s complex, and it’s essential, just like your work, but unlike your work, you can’t just go back to the engineer for a redraw if the final cut is damaged.
How Vision Is Lost
Losing your vision can happen instantaneously or over time. Age-related macular degeneration, for instance, is a condition that happens with a natural progression of damage to the retina over time.
Other ways to lose your vision? There are about a million, and most of them involve strikes, scrapes, burns, or splashes of chemicals to the eye.
You might not be able to do much about age-related vision loss (until science develops something similar to Botox for your eyes), but you can do something about vision loss that happens as the result of an accident. Safety eyewear protects your eyes and prevents 90% of all eye injuries. Stats don’t lie.
How Common Are Eye Injuries?
We understand that, at least until now, safety eyewear hasn’t been the most comfortable and certainly not the most fashion-forward. You might find yourself resisting the (incredibly useful) suggestion to wear safety glasses, especially if you don’t work in an industry that requires them.
The problem is: eye injuries are common at home, at work, and at play.
On the job, nearly 2,000 workers sustain eye injuries each day, and about one-third of these will result in emergency room visits and time off of work. Some very unfortunate cases wind up as pictorial examples in medical textbooks about the dangers of working without safety glasses. Trust us; you don’t want that kind of fame.
At home, the stats aren’t much better. Whether tackling a home improvement project like a weekend warrior or simply cleaning with household chemicals, the risk to your eyesight is real. Nearly half of all eye injuries happen at home.
Machinist Safety Glasses vs. Stoggles
Clearly, safety eyewear deserves your undivided attention, especially if you work in an industry that puts your eyes at risk, like machinery.
Machinist safety glasses market themselves as offering precision protection at a lower price than comparably similar eyewear. Here, we compare the differences between Machinist safety glasses and Stoggles.
It goes without saying, safety eyewear should be shatter-resistant. The gold standard in shatter resistance is the ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification. This certification helps you know that your safety glasses have undergone two incredible feats of strength:
- A weight test. A weighted ball bearing is dropped onto the lens from a specified height.
- A speed test. A ball bearing is fired at the lenses at a specified speed.
To pass the test and get the ANSI seal of approval, the eyewear cannot break or shatter during either of these epic-sounding tests.
Both Machinist and Stoggles offer ANSI Z87.1-2020 certification, which means you can depend on them to protect your eyes against heavy, flying ball bearings (and anything else that could damage your eyewear and cause them to shatter).
Side and Top Shields
It’s tempting to wear your regular eyeglasses or sunglasses to “protect” your eyes, but your regular glasses aren’t made to withstand the type of impact that safety eyewear is made to withstand.
In addition, your regular glasses leave your eyes vulnerable in two specific areas; the tops of your eyes and the sides of your eyes, where your temples are located. Both places allow for droplets and debris to enter your eye area and cause harm.
Safety eyewear should be outfitted with both side and top shields to give your eyes 360-degree protection.
While Machinist glasses offer lenses that extend to the sides of the eyes, Stoggles are designed with dedicated side shields and top shields to ensure you are fully protected. Machinist glasses have curved lenses covering a portion of the side but no top shield. That leaves a critical area totally unprotected.
Even if you work in a garage or warehouse, UV protection is a must-have. UV light damages your vision and can age your eyes faster than any other source, just like it does your skin. For machinists, the possibility of being exposed to welding arcs is higher, and that light, too, can harm your eyes.
While the Blues Brothers and the Terminator seem fine wearing their sunglasses at night, we shouldn’t do the same. Trying to wear your sunglasses inside a machine shop doesn’t just look bad; it’s a bad idea.
Your coworkers won’t think you’re fly in your wraparound polarized glasses, and you’ll put your fingers (and possibly limbs) in harm’s way while trying to operate your machine behind dark glasses. Extra not cool.
Instead, you need UV protection without the shade. Clear safety eyewear that offers UV blocking technology is necessary for keeping your eyes safe in these conditions. Both Stoggles and Machinist are crafted with polycarbonate, a naturally UV blocking material that offers crystal clear vision and UV protection in one nice, neat little hard-to-break package.
Nothing is scarier than a pair of fogging safety glasses. Don’t believe us? Try this story on for size: You’re using an angle grinder to cut sheet metal. To protect against inhalation of dust and other foreign bodies, you put on a mask. Deep into the first cut, your breath escapes your masks, travels up to your glasses, and fogs them so you can’t see.
Your instant reaction? To wipe them down, of course. The only problem is that your angle grinder is still cutting sheet metal. Forget to turn it off, and your picture could end up in a medical student handbook. Turn it off and remove your glasses, and you’re still risking your vision to someone else’s machine shards and debris.
All safety eyewear must have anti-fogging technology. Although you can use anti-fog wipes or drops in a pinch, the Cadillac of all safety eyewear are lenses that are treated to resist fogging.
Some Machinist safety glasses offer anti-fog technology, but not all, so it’s important to ensure that the glasses you pick have this feature. With Stoggles, it’s easy. All of our eyewear is fog-resistant so that you never have to guess and distress.
Blue Light Blocking
Blue light is a real threat to your vision, although we are just beginning to understand it and what it does. Blue light, like UV light, is emitted from the sun but also from sources like computers, fluorescent lights, LED televisions, and smartphones.
Blue light can penetrate your eyes and reach the retina and possibly affect your vision. Research is ongoing, but there is a potential for macular damage. This means if you aren’t protecting your eyes against blue light, you could be exposing them to light that could damage and age the macula faster than your yearly birthday alone.
Blue light may also cause symptoms similar to Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) like:
- Eye fatigue and strain
- Watery eyes or dry eyes
The solution? Blue light blocking technology. Blue light blocking material is literally embedded into a pair of safety glasses when they are made, making it a permanent blue light blocking solution.
Machinist safety glasses don’t offer blue light blocking technology, but you’ll find every pair of Stoggles has blue light blocking technology built right into the lens.
Style and Prescription
We won’t insult you by pretending that style doesn’t matter when we all know it does. If your safety eyewear isn’t aesthetically appealing, you aren’t going to wear it, even in the shop. When your eyewear is comfortable and stylish, you’ll probably wear it more frequently, giving it a better chance of actually providing the protection you need.
While Machinist safety glasses have a somewhat streamlined design, they don’t offer the lens shape and color options that Stoggles does. Stoggles come in cat eye, square, rectangle, and round.
Whether you want to pair classic square frames to operate your lathe or circular frames for a cylindrical grinder, we love that. We just want you to look good while you do your thing.
Plus, the shape of Stoggles (that of traditional specs) allows for our seamless in-house prescription options. Wrapped sunglasses tend to have distorted prescriptions on the sides, so expect a formal letter of complaint from your peripheral vision.
Bottom Line: Stoggles FTW
You can call us biased… we’ve been called worse. For the ultimate in safety protection and incredible wearability, you simply can’t beat a pair of Stoggles. Whether you’re turning a tool or cutting through tile, you need to keep your eyes protected.
We’d never tell you to turn down (anything except for that tool you’re turning in front of you), and our eyewear will keep your eyes safe, and your style turned up.
Protective Features of the Eyes - Eye Disorders | Merck Manuals Consumer Version
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) | National Eye Institute
Eye Injury Prevention Fact Sheet | Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety and Health
Research progress about the effect and prevention of blue light on eyes | PMC