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Thread: Progressive Lens Safety Glasses

  1. #1

    Progressive Lens Safety Glasses

    Hi: Anyone out there have any experience, good or bad, with buying progressive prescription lens for your safety glasses? (These are multi focus lens that have gradual bifocals, as well as distance.)
    they are very common in regular glasses, but from what I am reading on the supplier websites, there may be some issues with trying to adapt to safety glasses.
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    I use my regular polycarbonate progressive glasses for many things in my shop and use off-the-shelf bifocal, closer wrapped safety glasses for other things. I have not investigated full custom progressive safety glasses. For most work in my shop, I really don't need the full progressive range anyway and for my prescription, it's mostly to support closer ranges.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Kansas City
    Not done progressives on safety glasses, but I will share one big tip I got from my optometrist who is also a woodworker. He recommended getting a pair of what he said are called "office glasses". These are progressives, but with only the middle and close up ranges. So no driving with them, but they also have wider band across the lens is in focus (rather than just the center), so that it works better for work on the computer, and in the shop. I am very happy with them - replacing reading glasses, and using them in the shop. I think I wear them most of the time, unless watching tv or driving.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Silicon Valley, CA
    I haven't tried progressives, or even prescription, safety glasses. I went with the Uvex Genesis XC system instead. They offer a prescription lens insert that holds lenses just behind the safety glasses. (It makes sense to me to be able to replace the oft scratched safety glasses on the cheap and letting them protect the expensive RX lenses.)

    So far, I've got to give them mixed reviews. I ordered lenses with all my corrections adjusted for a "long" reading prescription. (Probably similar to Stan's office glasses main/field adjustment.) I didn't get progressives because of the expense and because my street glasses have such small area for any specific close focus they are a little annoying for close work. Overall, I'd say I like this approach, but I need to do some fine tuning. I didn't choose a good distance, many things are too far and some are too close. The insert plus lenses makes the glasses heavier and they now slide down a sweaty face when I look down. Lastly I've occasionally gotten dust between the safety lenses and the RX lenses, which requires (annoying!) disassembly to clean. Overall, I'm looking for a non-annoying strap to hold them up and trying to decide on the a new insert RX.

    PS- my wife has small eyeglass lenses and wears Uvex Ambient OTG safety glasses over her prescription "computer" glasses. I always found this uncomfortable, but it seems to vary a lot depending on the glasses' shape.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I have a pair of full progressive safety glasses. They work just fine.

    You may not see much online about progressives and bifocals because there's a fitting issue which is difficult to manage online. The maker needs to know where on the lens to change from distance correction to close-up correction. Where that happens depends on how the frame sits on your nose, and where your eyes are. An optometrist measures that, and orders the correct lens.

  6. #6
    I have trifocal safety glasses rather than progressive but I think the fundamentals are the same. They work well although I have to remember to don the side shields when in the shop. I bought the frame online as I could not find any I liked locally and had my optometrist's office order the lenses so that the transitions would be located correctly in the frame relative to my eyes.

    I ordered my frame from this outfit. They have a pretty good selection and good pricing on Uvex/Titmus safety frames. They hold up well, and I am historically hard on frames.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Lebanon, TN
    I have progressive safety glasses, this is my first and most likely my last pair.

    Prior to these, I only needed 1.75 readers, so i would wear the readers on the end of my nose, which wasn't providing and real safety.

    My wife talked me into the progressives and I've had them for about a year. I just don't like them, there is so much of the visual area that is not in focus and moving you head around like a chameleon's eyeball, rather than using your own eyeball, just hasn't worked for me.

    I will go back to bifocal safety glasses sometime soon.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Falls Church, VA
    Blog Entries
    I had progressives and didn't like them. I went back to bi-focals. If I were made of money, I would get glasses with near vision and both the bottom and top with far vision in the middle. If I ever have to do something up high, it's pain to tilt my head way back to get near vision. I'm told that plumbers get glasses like this.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Anaheim, California
    Tried progressive lenses once (non-safety). First time I wore them to work, they tried to kill me: went down a flight of stairs and couldn't see my feet. But the worst thing from a woodworking POV is that they make every piece of lumber look warped.

    I keep them in the car as "shopping glasses" for when I'm going into a store and need to be able to read fine print on the shelf tags.
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  10. #10
    Yeah, I tried progressives briefly when my bifocal prescription stopped working. When in the transition zone I had to be looking directly at a square object or it would turn into a rhombus. Fortunately my optometrist credited me for those lenses and I went for trifocals. Anybody considering progressive lenses should try to get a demo/trial period as they are not for everyone.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    It really is a personal thing as far as progressive lens is concerned.

    The first pair I got took me about 3-4 weeks to get used to using especially when going down the stairs in our home. My wife didn't get used to wearing them.

    Now, all I wear is progressive glass lens in my safety glasses.

  12. #12
    I've worn progressive lenses for my regular glasses for over 15 years and am very satisfied. There are times when working above my head it would be nice if they made them progressive both up and down. I've had no problems determining if a piece of lumber is straight or not and I can easily set up a cut mark on a board to the blade with my eyes safely well above the blade. I generally wear over the glasses safety glasses when I need them.

    Adapting to the progressive took about one day. I wouldn't go back to regular lenses for any reason. I opted for Zeis lenses because they had wider center channels than any other brand 15 years ago.
    Last edited by Lee Schierer; 03-24-2020 at 9:31 AM.
    Lee Schierer
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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee DeRaud View Post
    Tried progressive lenses once (non-safety). First time I wore them to work, they tried to kill me: went down a flight of stairs and couldn't see my feet. But the worst thing from a woodworking POV is that they make every piece of lumber look warped.
    That is IMO the real problem. If you need glasses, your eyes (and perception of the linearity of surfaces) adjusts so that everything looks "normal". When you change to a significantly different lens, that gets thrown totally out of whack. I much prefer actual safety glasses (i.e. safety goggles) that fit over your usual glasses, then everything is fine. I like the Hex Armor LT300 and the DeWalt DPG82-11. Unfortunately, both are hard to find at this exact moment. A good face shield like the Uvex S8510 is also helpful.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Wayland, MA
    Prior to cataract and corrective surgery I used progressive safety glasses for many years. They worked perfectly for me. I never tried traditional bifocals, going immediately to progressives when bifocals were required, so I've always found traditional bifocals to be disconcerting and obtrusive. I'm experiencing that a lot now, as I need bifocal "cheaters" for close vision. The DeWalt ones are the best I've found.

    I did get a pair of progressive "cheaters" but that really didn't work at all. With the implanted lenses I have essentially perfect vision from computer distance (~20") out, the gradual transition seems to introduce a band of out of focus vision from several feet down to reading distance, which is then fine. Though I hate the sharp division of the bifocal it works better. Some days I really miss being nearsighted.

  15. #15
    Thanks all for some very good feedback. Hopefully this may help other members as well. I had tried safety prescription bifocals, but made the wrong choice (reading and distance.) So I never use them. I should have opted for the “office” glasses that were suggested. I find that I use my “computer” glasses most in the shop (focus distance was adjusted by the doctor for focus at around 20”, as opposed to reader distance.) I think many shop tasks requiring safety glasses fall in this range.
    I don’t wear glasses full time, so for someone like me, I think adjusting to progressives may be difficult, since I would be taking them off and on.
    I agree that this is something you should not try to buy on line, too many variables!

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