Colored Safety Glasses: More than Just a Fashion Statement

While lens tints on safety glasses look fashion-forward, the primary purpose of the colored lenses is actually to enhance a worker’s vision under various lighting conditions. In this blog, we’re exploring different lens options, their applications and the percentage of visible light transmission (VLT), which refers to the amount of visible light that can pass through the lens.

Popular Lens Colors

Whether you work primarily indoors, outdoors, or require specific color enhancement there’s a lens color out there that’s ideal for your situation. Here’s a look at some of the most common lens colors and their uses:

Clear: Provides excellent optics for general applications where impact protection is required. 85% VLT

Gray: Use for outdoor applications where light and glare can cause eye strain and fatigue. 12% VLT

Light Gray: Serves the same purpose as gray lens, yet allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 62% VLT

Amber: Blocks the blue portion of the visible light spectrum, creating maximum contrast enhancement, particularly in low light. 85% VLT

Orange: Excellent for indoor and low light areas as well as cloudy or hazy days. Blocks out the blue and green light portion of the visible light spectrum. 57% VLT

Fire, Blue Diamond, Emerald, Rainbow, Blue, Silver, Banana Mirror and Copper: For outdoor use where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. A mirror coating reflects light, reducing the amount of light that passes through the lens. 9% VLT

Brown: Outdoor applications where sunlight and glare cause eye strain and fatigue. Meets color traffic signal recognition requirements. 12% VLT

Indoor/Outdoor Clear Mirror: Allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 55% VLT

Vermilion: Enhances contrast while reducing all colors equally for optimum color recognition. Ideal for indoor inspection. 55% VLT

Light Blue: Allows more visible light through the lens for indoor/outdoor use. Reduces glare from artificial light such as halogen and fluorescent. 70% VLT

Bonus Features

Sometimes workers need a little extra oomph when it comes to their colored safety glasses. Here are some additional features that are available:

Duramass® AF4 Anti-Fog Coating: Exclusive Duramass scratch resistant coating with anti-fog provides excellent fog prevention in high humidity environments where sudden shifts in temperature occur.

Polarized: For use outdoors to protect from excessive glare that can cause eye fatigue.

Filter Shades: Protects against ultra-violet and infrared radiation generated when working with molten metal, and in welding, cutting, soldering and brazing. See guide below for applications and recommendations for filter shades.

Operation Recommended Filter Shade
Torch Soldering 2
Torch Brazing 3
Light Cutting up to 1”* 3
Medium Cutting 1” to 6”* 5
Heavy Cutting more than 6”* 5
Gas Welding, light, up to 1/8”* 5
Gas Welding, medium, 1/8” to 1/2″* 5

*Indicates thickness of material to be cut

For more information about colored safety glasses and to browse our selection of eye protection, download the U.S. Standard Products Safety Catalog today. All glasses available in the catalog pass the ANSI Z87+ standard for coverage, impact protection and optical clarity, while many also meet the EN166 (Europe), CSA Z94.3 (Canada) and AS/NZS 1337.1 (Australia and New Zealand) standards.

The definitions provided above are general descriptions only. Consult your workplace safety director to ensure the proper application.