As an athlete in the League, by now you know that the number one priority is and always will be safety. One of the safety priorities is protecting your vision, and that’s why the League requires all athletes to wear safety glasses. There are a couple key things you should look for when buying safety glasses. The first is the type of material the lenses are made out of, and second is the shape of the lenses and how much coverage they provide around your eyes.

Most safety glasses are made of high-quality polycarbonate, which is a type of thermoplastic. Thermoplastics are plastics that become a liquid when heated, which makes it easy for manufacturers to create thin lenses that are very flexible and impact-resistant. This durability is what protects your eyes from direct impacts. When purchasing safety glasses, you should look for glasses that meet the ANSI Z87.1 standard. This should be marked on the package or on the glasses themselves. The ANSI Z87.1 standard is the industry’s basic impact-resistance requirement for safety glasses and most safety glasses with polycarbonate lenses will meet this standard. Safety glasses that don’t meet this standard may not provide adequate protection against impacts from metal fragments or other debris. Another rating you may come across is MIL-PRF-31013. Safety glasses meeting this military standard are even more impact resistant than ANSI Z87.1, so you can rest assured that safety glasses with this rating will protect your eyes.

Proper eye protection is not just about being ready for an exceedingly rare worst-case scenario. There are other situations on the firing line that can put your eyes at risk, and that’s where the shape of the lenses and how much coverage they provide around your eyes comes into play.
Athletes should avoid safety glasses that have lenses that only cover the front of their eyes, as they don’t provide protection from dirt and smoke from other shooters’ shotguns, or from the sand and grit stirred up on a windy day. Shooting glasses that wrap around the face and eyes towards your temple provide more protection from those types of debris while on the line.

Many athletes have prescription eyeglasses that they need to wear in order to see clearly, so it depends on the materials your eyeglass lenses are made from. The League allows prescription glasses that have lenses made out of either plastic or polycarbonate to be used out on the line. If your eyewear has lenses made of out glass, you’ll need to find a set of safety glasses or goggles that will fit over them. You could also consider getting prescription shooting glasses made. Your eyes are the only ones you’ll get. So make sure to protect them properly while having fun this spring.