Majority of employees still provided with over-goggles - Wrongly perceived costs an issue, with employers expecting to pay double

Safety glassesThe latest research from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare reveals that the majority of staff who wear prescription glasses are still being provided with safety over-goggles, and that employers are vastly overestimating costs.

Just under half, 49%, of the 500 plus industry leaders surveyed said they have staff who need safety eyewear as part of their working role. For those staff who wear prescription glasses and are required to wear safety glasses for work purposes:

  • 55%, are provided with safety over-goggles
  • 28% are provided with prescription safety eyewear sourced by the company
  • 18% let their staff source their own prescription safety eyewear

Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, said: ‘The wearing of goggles on top of glasses can cause an increase in light reflection between the two sets of lenses. This can impact the quality of vision. There is also an issue of physically wearing two sets of appliances, which can be awkward, heavy and uncomfortable.’

The provision of prescription safety glasses is a more suitable solution for anyone requiring safety eyewear on a regular basis, with over-goggles only really being an option for short-term wear for occasional visitors. Frames and lenses are available in a variety of materials, to suit different industry requirements. Prescription safety glasses are even available with bifocal or varifocal lenses, to match the lens option an individual uses for their everyday glasses, so they are more comfortable on the eyes of the wearer and suitable for both close-up and distance work.

While an enlightened 46% of employers where shown in the research to offer the option of prescription safety eyewear, just 28% said the company sources this, with 18% letting their staff source their own. However, this can be problematic:

Businesses which allow their employees to source their own prescription safety eyewear leave themselves open to issues of inconsistency and overpayment. The costs of prescription safety glasses can vary hugely from provider to provider and it is not uncommon for an employee to present a bill for hundreds of pounds more than necessary. Specsavers Corporate Eyecare recommends that employers research the options carefully and then put a set process in place for consistent procurement across the company.

To illustrate this point, Specsavers asked how much employers thought it costs to provide one pair of prescription safety glasses. The results are as follows:

  • 67% thought over £40
  • 58% thought over £80
  • 16% thought over £120
  • 10% were not sure
  • The average cost put forward by respondents was £91.50

In fact, safety eyewear eVouchers from Specsavers Corporate Eyecare start from £36.81 for a complete pair of CR39 single-vision prescription safety glasses. This includes glasses from the hugely popular JCB range.

Jim Lythgow commented: ‘This may well be one of the reasons why employers are still providing over-goggles. 58% of the employers we surveyed thought that prescription safety glasses cost more than twice the amount they are actually available for. There are so many advantages to prescription safety glasses, compared with over-goggles – we are keen to spread this message so that both employers and their employees can benefit.’

For more information on prescription safety eyewear, visit