Safety glasses

Fog Problems With Safety Glasses | 2019-03-24

The answer is Evan R. Hardin, Sales Manager – Safety / Personal Protective Equipment, Fastenal Co., Winona, MN.

The past three to five years have seen a rapid increase in anti-fog lens coating technologies led by nearly all of the major eye protection manufacturers in the world. More specifically in North America, manufacturers market their anti-fog technology as being at the forefront of the industry and outperforming the competition. And it looks like all major manufacturers now offer a “premium” anti-fog coating / material beyond the standard anti-fog coating of years past.

We certainly know that not all fog-proof safety glasses are created equal. Here are some basic concepts to help you understand current anti-fog technologies and get the most out of your product investment.

There are many factors that go into choosing the right eye protection for your employees, as well as maintaining and cleaning eyewear to keep the fogger working properly in order to maximize service life. It is important that users are properly trained in the maintenance of the specific type of coating on eyewear selected for them by their employer. For example, some anti-fog coatings are chemically engineered to absorb moisture droplets, acting like a microscopic sponge. Known as “hydrophilic” coatings, they do not wash off over time. Other coatings are applied locally to the lens. These types of coatings, called “hydrophobic,” simply repel and spread moisture and are generally less effective for long-term use, even if properly maintained.

When it comes to properly caring for anti-fog treated lens materials, it’s important to understand how to clean and maintain eyewear to maximize its lifespan. It is quite common for employees to take off glasses and wipe them down with a shirt, store towel, or something similar. Not only does this minimize the life of the coating, it can also introduce debris and contaminants into the lens. Either the coating is wiped off or the lens material is scratched – or both occur simultaneously. Many lens cleaning products (prepackaged wipes, sprays, etc.) are available to help maximize the life of the glasses. Many of them are designed to reapply the anti-fog coating to the lenses while they are being cleaned.

Certain situations, such as excessive sweating, certainly call for choosing high-end anti-fog safety glasses. Until ANSI / ISEA creates uniform testing standards and guidelines for fog-proof eyewear, take the extra step to understand the type of anti-fog eye protection you provide to your employees and educate them on how to take good care of it.

Editor’s Note: This article represents the independent opinions of the author and should not be construed as an endorsement of the National Security Council.