When you are wearing safety glasses, it can be a bit of a pain to work in the hot sun all day due to glares, fogging, and the inability to also wear sunglasses. While there are sunglasses-style safety glasses available, you have to also carry around a pair of secondary normal safety glasses, as well, due to the darkened lenses making inside work appear too dark to be safe or comfortable. It can be a bit difficult to manage this when you are carrying things and, due to the potential safety hazards, many worksites do not allow darkened safety glasses since they pose indoor visual hazards that could result in the injury of the wearer or those working around them.
Fortunately, there is another option! Photochromic lenses are transitional lenses that work by reacting to the sun’s light on a particulate level, transitioning into a shaded, protective hue that acts similarly to traditional sunglasses when exposed. Indoors, they remain crystal clear and operate as normal safety glasses. Let’s take a look at six of the best photochromic safety glasses you can find online!
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
With almost one hundred reviews totaling up to nearly a perfect 5-star rating, these Spits Eyeware Glasses are a great choice if you are hoping to invest in something that will last for years to come. Z87.1 OSHA Compliant and designed for maximum comfort and protection, these shatterproof polycarbonate lenses easily meet ANSI Z87.1-2010 standards, making them perfectly suitable for industrial and non-commercial use, alike. The lenses are coated with a titanium oxide sealant layer that transitions from high contrast yellow to dark green, offering you premium eye protection experience regardless of lighting and sun exposure.
These lenses are UV reactive, as are most, which means that they will unfortunately not work in settings where UV lighting is blocked, such as when wearing helmets or face guards. If you need this type of product, Spits does offer something that will work well in their mirrored line, which transitions from light mirroring to heavy mirroring in bright light situations to help offer protection. The reviews also note that the glasses do not get overly dark like some are apt to do. They dim just enough that you can comfortably work without the blinding glares and streaks some other non-transitional lenses get or the brightness impacting your field of vision.
- Great transition time
- OSHA compliant
- Does not work with helmets and other similar gear
- Does not work behind car windshields
- No bifocal option available
Photochromic Safety Glasses – Buying Guide
When buying a pair of photochromic safety glasses, chances are you want something that obviously transitions between bright and dim lighting well while also providing comfort and not hurting your pocketbook too much. Fortunately, there are tons of options out there that offer these exact features and much, much more! Before getting directly into the products we have selected to recommend, let’s take a look at what makes a good pair of photochromic lenses.
What are photochromic lenses?
When you buy a pair of safety glasses outright from a store of the most basic variety, chances are they have clear, plain lenses with maybe a bit of magnification. Those are the absolute bare minimum features of a pair of safety glasses. While this works for most work settings, there are occasions where you can anticipate the clearness to be a bit irritating, like when bright light is amplified by the lenses or glare formation.
Photochromic safety glasses work to help nullify this reaction by offering a coating that transitions from clear or tinted to dark, like sunglasses, when exposed to UV radiation. When this transition happens, your eyes are shielded against the harsher light and you can more comfortably work. When you move back inside or away from the bright area, the lenses lighten back up, allowing you to see without needing to tweak them in any way like you would with sunglasses or flip lenses.
This can make them a very vital and valuable tool for a lot of workers, as they can rely on them to provide easy movement between job sites and venues without the need to touch their face or carry around an extra piece of equipment if they choose to remove their sunglasses or need to switch between one pair of regular glasses to sunglasses and back. This can help increase productivity and keep everyone on the job site a little safer, which is why transition safety glasses are such a good thing to have on hand.
Can auto-darkening safety glasses be used in cars?
Since most types of photochromic safety glasses require exposure to UV rays in order to trigger the transformation due to the use of titanium oxide pigments or similar compounds to create the transitional effect, many lenses do not work well when used behind a car’s windshield or in similar places like beneath helmets or protective facial gear. Due to this, you may not be able to wear them when driving since they will offer little to no protection against the bright light outside, effectively rendering them as little more than a typical pair of safety glasses.
Fortunately, there are options that can be bought that are specifically made for use when driving or using other gear that could hinder the level of UV needed to cause a reactive transition. These types of products use a different coating chemical and are able to darken, usually to a lesser degree still but noticeably, when behind reflective surfaces or windshields while still providing broad-spectrum protection for the wearer’s eyes. This means you do not have to sacrifice functionality and comfort while even on the road between sites, making it perfect if you need to make short material runs or otherwise do not want to carry a second pair of regular sunglasses for when in the work vehicle.
Can you use prescription lenses?
If you are a glasses or contact wearer, chances are you know the pain of not being able to use basic safety glasses. Either you have to opt to purchase a typically much more expensive pair of prescription lenses through your eye doctor or play the gambling game of buying a pair online and hoping it is accurate. Either way, having to buy a second pair of sunglasses or shaded safety glasses are even more of a hassle considering the different impacts a tint can have on a given prescription.
Fortunately, there are tons of different companies that manufacture prescription safety glasses transitional lenses at a wide variety of price ranges to meet any need you may have. This, of course, means you need to have a valid prescription. If you have this, you can either order your glasses directly through your eye doctor or choose to go online and buy a cheaper option with the same information.
In most areas, eye doctors are required to give you your prescription information so you should just be able to call and ask or go in person and have them print it off. Once you have it, double-check the information while entering it to ensure that you have everything perfectly aligned with what your doctor has described. If the prescription is incorrect or incorrectly conveyed, it can cause eye damage and make the glasses unusable. Once you are certain everything is right, just send it through and you should be all set! It is an easy process and generally much cheaper online than it is in office since you are paying additional fees when going directly through your doctor of choice. Either way, transitional lenses in your work glasses can make a massive difference and completely change how you work and move around the job site.
For more information about photochromic safety glasses, watch this video.
Best Photochromic Safety Glasses
The products chosen here have been selected due to a series of factors, including price, average reviews, product specifications, and a host of other attributes. While this is not a complete list of viable, high-quality products, all of these excel and showcase the qualities that make up a good pair of photochromic safety glasses. Let’s look over each option and figure out which best fits your needs!
The top best product [hide]
Good for use with helmets
Does not fully seal to face despite foam liner
Some fogging issues
Polarized HD for driving
Lenses scratch easy
No clear option, only yellow
Shatter and scratch-resistant
Reports of many shipping errors
Issues with warranty
Durable magnesium alloy frame
Limited lens options
Reports of cracking and spring wear
Photochromic Safety Glasses FAQs
Can you wear glasses under transitional lenses?
Are you entitled to your prescription information?
Can you get prescription lenses without seeing a doctor?
Your vision is one of the most important things to protect on a job site. It plays a key role in making your job easier and helping you move about the site and get things done. Fortunately, these fantastic products are all here to help, so do your research and you are sure to find a fantastic pair of transitional photochromic lenses in no time!