Considerations Regarding Wearing Contact Lenses at Work in an Industrial Setting

When someone gets a job in construction or in a manufacturing environment, the person may wonder whether it’s okay to wear contact lenses to work. Are there any reasons to wear eyeglasses instead and save contact lenses for home use and other activities?

Safety Glasses

In many of these environments, workers are required to wear safety glasses. Those can either be prescription lenses or non-corrective lenses. Safety glasses without corrective lenses can be worn while the person has contact lenses in. It may be more comfortable to wear contacts under wraparound safety goggles models.

The OSHA Viewpoint

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration takes the position that wearing contacts normally does not pose additional hazards to workers. Statistics indicate that some 34 million workers wear contact lenses on the job, and many of them work in industrial settings. The position of OSHA matches that of the National Society for the Prevention of Blindness.


Workers are advised to wear their glasses instead of contact lenses in areas where substances can be irritating to those lenses on top of the eye. A dusty environment is a primary example, which may be the case in some manufacturing plants and construction sites. Laboratories with chemical vapors can be irritating to the eyes, and contacts can make that situation worse. In addition, some employers forbid wearing contacts, although this has become uncommon.

In some instances, contacts actually are preferable to glasses. An example is in jobs requiring full-face respiratory masks. In other cases, contacts could be hazardous. Welding with contacts in the eyes is considered safe with appropriate eye protection, but not if the task involves vapors or gas produced in the process.

Soft and Hard Lenses

When choosing contact lenses through an online supplier like eContactLenses, any products should be acceptable in these workplaces as long as the individuals follow recommended safety guidelines. A broad range of soft lenses are available, and hard lenses also can be purchased in the form of rigid, gas permeable products. A large majority of U.S. consumers prefer soft lenses, but some find the RGP products more comfortable for dry eyes.


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