If your favorite pastime involves a range and a rifle, you likely already know you need some pretty specific safety gear. In addition to solid hearing protection and a protective safety vest, you also need protective eyewear.
Unfortunately, safety glasses and goggles aren’t historically known for their fashion-forward style. Lucky for you, that’s about to change. Stoggles are the safety glasses that protect your eyes and your stylish reputation.
While you’re taking a cease-fire, let’s cover some important information about shooting related eye injuries and how you can keep your eyes protected with glasses that don’t look like part of your middle school biology teacher’s uniform.
You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out
No one ever sees it coming (pun not intended), but the 14,000 severe shooting-related eye injuries that have recently been reported worldwide confirm it: accidents happen on the range, in the paintball arena, and even in your own backyard.
Of those injuries, a little over one out of five results in injuries to an individual under the age of 21. In the United States alone, over 8,700 shooting-related eye injuries have been reported between 2008-2014.
That number might seem low but remember: these are only injuries that have been reported. Additionally, these are injuries that result in a visit to the ER, where this data was collected. The reality is that shooting is a sport that requires exceptional attention to detail and seriously protective eyewear.
It’s Not Just Shotguns
It goes without saying you’ll need protection at the gun range. In fact, regulations of the range may prevent you from even shooting if you aren’t wearing eye protection. However, eye injuries can happen from guns that don’t fire bullets.
Eye injuries are extremely common from:
- BB guns
- Foam air pellet guns (like Nerf guns)
- Paintball guns
No matter what shooting-related activity, you need eye protection to ensure a stray dart, pellet, bullet, or casing doesn’t find its way to your orbital cavity.
What’s the Risk?
The risk to your eye health is extreme. First of all, your eyes aren’t as protected as other vital organs. Think of your heart, which is buried deep within your chest, behind your protective rib cage. Likewise, your brain is surrounded by the thick bone of your skull.
Your eyes, however, are exposed. Although the portion of your eyes that controls vision are located in the back of your eye, it’s still incredibly easy to injure your eyes if you don’t protect them.
Your eyelids and eyelashes protect your eyes from some dust and particles, but for blunt force trauma, you need more protection.
Your retina is located behind the lens and cornea. The cornea and lens collect light and pass it through your pupil back to your retina. The retina is home to millions of retinal cells. Retinal cells take the light that they receive from the cornea and send it to the brain via your optic nerve. In turn, your brain interprets the light and tells you what you see.
Retinal cells are where vision happens, and they’re incredibly important. Unlike other cells in our body, retinal cells don’t regenerate. When they become damaged, they can’t be repaired.
Thus, if you sustain an eye-related injury that harms your retina, you could seriously impact your vision in a way that isn’t fixable. Ultimately, you could lose your eyesight. Taking a chance with your vision isn’t worth it, especially when most eye-related injuries are completely preventable simply by wearing protective eyewear.
Foam pellet gun warriors, you don’t get a free pass on eyewear. Each year optometrists treat numerous eye injuries sustained from good, old-fashioned toy gun wars. Although it’s unlikely a foam pellet to the eye will blind you, it could cause a retinal concussion.
A retinal concussion is a type of retinal bruise that happens due to blunt force trauma to the eye. You’ll likely also experience pain in the orbital socket, which absorbs much of the pressure when your eye is struck by any object.
Even if you never take a pellet or a BB to the eye, you can develop eye irritations and injuries from shell casings, powder, or even backfiring if you aren’t holding your gun correctly. The bottom line is that your eyes need protection no matter what kind of firearm (or toy) you’re using.
What Do I Need?
When you think about protective eyewear for shooting, you know automatically you need impact resistance. Yet, a pair of shatter-proof glasses isn’t the only type of protection you need. Here’s what your shooting glasses should offer your eyes in terms of protection, safety, and style.
Most safety glasses have been tested for impact resistance, but the gold standard for impact-resistant glasses is the ANSI Z78.1+ seal. These safety glasses have undergone two specific tests.
- High mass impact test. This test involves dropping a weighted ball bearing from a height of at least 4 feet onto the lens of the glasses.
- High velocity impact test. This test involves firing a ball bearing at a speed of 102 mph at the lens of a pair of safety glasses.
To earn the ANSI Z78.1+ seal, a pair of safety glasses must pass both of these tests without cracking, shattering, breaking, or otherwise fragmenting. If your glasses have this protective certification, you’ll see it engraved on either the arms or lenses of your safety glasses.
Side and Top Shields
If you wear prescription glasses, you may not think you need additional eye protection, but that’s a mistake. Not only can your prescription glasses shatter and break, but they also leave your eyes vulnerable in two specific areas.
The tops of your glasses don’t meet your forehead, leaving a gap into which dust or debris can fall. Likewise, the sides of your glasses (across your temples) also leave your eyes vulnerable. Side and top shields protect your eyes by connecting to your frames and lenses to create an enclosure, making it difficult for anything to penetrate.
Polycarbonate Frames and Lenses
When you’re shooting, you want to remain comfortable and also be able to use your dominant eye to focus. Heavy safety goggles or glasses make it virtually impossible to shoot with comfort and accuracy.
Polycarbonate frames are lightweight and incredibly sturdy. They also give plenty of resistance for bounce-back and blow-black.
There’s zero room for lack of concentration when you’re shooting, and shooting glasses that fog will rob you of your concentration faster than a speeding bullet (sorry/not sorry).
Fogging glasses not only make it impossible to see, but they also pose a serious risk to your eyes. Every time you remove your foggy glasses to clean them, you place your eyes at risk of injury. Not to mention, it’s time out of your favorite hobby you have to take to clean your lenses.
Shooting outdoors? Then you need UV protective lenses. You likely won’t wear sunglasses while you’re shooting, but your eyes still need protection from dangerous UV rays. UV protective coating allows you to wear safety glasses that aren’t tinted while still filtering out harmful light rays that could injure your eyes.
Blue Light Blocking
Blue light is closely related to UV light. Both are types of short-wave, high-energy light that can pass directly through your cornea and lens and hit your retina. Blue light is emitted by devices like your tablet, phone, and LED televisions, but the biggest source of blue light is the sun.
If you’re outdoors shooting, a blue light protective coating can keep harmful blue light rays from injuring your eyes.
Let’s not kid ourselves. We want to stay safe and look great. If your shooting glasses aren’t comfortable and stylish, you probably won’t wear them. Thankfully, you don’t have to settle for the rentals available at the shooting range or the ill-fitting, massive goggles available at your local shooting store.
Stoggles are available in two different frame shapes, numerous different colors, and two different sizes, so you can fully customize your eye protection to match your outfit, mood, or even your rifle.
Straight Shooter: Stoggles
Shooting presents a unique challenge to eye protection; it requires safety glasses that are highly impact-resistant, comfortable, and crystal clear enough to see so you can focus on your target. Stoggles answers the call by providing the ultimate in sturdy, ANSI-certified safe frames but with style so impeccable you might have to avoid the paparazzi.
Keep your eyes safe while you’re shooting, and feel every bit as cool as you should wield your weapon. Stoggles protect your eyes and keep you looking smart.
Firearms a frequent source of ocular injuries worldwide, surgeon says | Healio
Many gun injuries involving the eyes strike US children and teens | Reuters
Pitt Scientists who Regrew Retina Cells to Restore Vision in Tiny Fish set their Sights on Humans | UPMC & Pitt Health Sciences News Blog