Leaded eyewear, or leaded glasses, refers to protective eyewear used in hospitals, clinics, research laboratories and other workplaces that carry a risk of radiation exposure. Radiation can be very harmful and have a cumulative effect on the body. It is especially important to protect the most sensitive areas on the body from even the smallest amount of exposure, and the eyes are perhaps the most vulnerable areas on the body.
Exposure to radiation can lead to a condition known as posterior subscapular cataracts. These are cataracts that form in the back of the eyes, making them very difficult to treat. Protective eyewear with lenses that contain lead should be worn at all times by technologists working with x-ray machinery or other imaging equipment that may emit radiation. Leaded eyewear is capable of cutting the amount of radiation that the eyes are exposed to down to 2 or 3 percent of unprotected exposure. An effective pair of leaded glasses uses front lenses of at least 0.75mmPb. They often also have lenses on the sides for maximum protection, although the side lenses usually contain less lead than the front lenses.
In the past, this type of eyewear generally had the appearance of bulky and cumbersome safety goggles. While this may seem appropriate considering that they essentially were safety goggles, they were still uncomfortable, considering that technologists were often required to wear them at all times. New styles of leaded glasses are often designed with this in mind. Most leaded eyewear today is lightweight, comfortable and even stylish in appearance. The frames can be molded and adjusted to fit a face of practically any size and shape. The lenses themselves can be ordered in prescription strength, making the eyewear ideal for those who require prescription glasses as well as protection. Another option that is often made available to technologists is a pair of leaded glasses with a straight arm design. These glasses are usually small and thin enough to slide on and off quickly even over protective caps or other such headgear. best lead glasses
Although the new styles of leaded eyewear can be very stylish, function will always be more important than fashion. These glasses will not be able to protect a healthcare professional from all radiation exposure, but like the lead vests that have been worn for years by technologists, doctors and patients alike, they will still offer enough protection to keep one safe on the job.