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Eye protection is protective gear for the eyes, which comes in many types depending upon the threat that is to be reduced. The threats can be particles, light, wind blast, heat, sea spray or some type of ball or puck used in sports.
Goggles are forms of protective eyewear that usually enclose or protect the eye area in order to prevent particulates, infectious fluids, or chemicals from striking the eyes. For example, when swimming, goggles protect the eyes from salt or chlorine in the pool.
Protection against light
The human eye is sensitive to intense light because it damages the retina and can even blind the individual. There are many different types of eye protection against light suited for different applications.
The most common forms of eye protection against light are sunglasses. These primarily protect against UV light from the sun and help increase visibility in bright conditions. They often tend to be fashionable as well as practical. Laser protection eyewear is similar but will filter out a particular (or small range of) wavelength(s), customized to the laser being viewed. Laser protection eyewear is particularly important because of the extremely high intensity of laser light.
Shades 12, 13, and 14 welding glass must be used to stare directly at the sun or a solar eclipse. These higher index shades are suitable for arc welding and therefore are suitable for solar viewing. Sunglasses will not provide sufficient protection.
Welding glass protects against glare and flying sparks. It is a more extreme implementation of the same idea as sunglasses, suited to the more intense light generated during welding. Arc welding goggles must be much darker than blowtorch goggles.
- Eye protectors used in sports like orienteering and cycling to protect eyes from insects, dust and wind blast.
- Infection control glasses
- Eye shields used in External beam radiotherapy to shield sensitive parts of the eye from ionizing radiation
Helmets and visors
- Armor visors were used in conjunction with some Medieval war helmets to protect the eyes from impact.
- Batting helmet with full face coverage is used by the catcher in baseball and softball games to protect the eyes and face from impact.
- Eyeshield is a piece of football equipment which attaches to a player's helmet to protect the eyes from impact.
- Fighter pilot helmet includes a visor for protection from the sun and from wind blast in case of an ejection from the aircraft.
- Some firefighter's helmets have visors which protect the eyes from infrared rays and the radiant heat of fire as well as from impact.
- Hockey helmets have visors, shields, cages and masks to protect the eyes and face from impact.
- Hurling helmets protect the eyes from the ball and from near contact with other players.
- Lacrosse helmets used in mens' lacrosse have a cage to protect the face and eyes from impact.
- Lifeboatman's helmet has a transparent visor to keep sea spray out of the eyes.
- Motorcycle helmets and Bicycle helmets have face shields that protects the eyes against wind blast, dust, insects and impact in the event of a crash.
- Racing helmets also have face shields (narrower than motorcycle helmets) to protect against fire and impact.
- Riot protection helmets have visors to protect the eyes and face from projectiles and impact.
- Safety helmets, also called hard hats, used by chainsaw operators and construction workers often have visors to protect the eyes from impact.
- Space suit helmets have gold-impregnated face shields to protect astronauts from the direct rays of the sun.
Prices depend on the manufacturing cost, quality, wavelength protection, and type of goggle/lens and may range from US$20 for a single lens to thousands of dollars for a set of specialized goggles.
Anna Millward wearing a cycling helmet and eye protectors