Why are Leaded Glasses So Heavy?

JUN 24

Why are Leaded Glasses So Heavy?

By phillips-safety

Safety eyewear for x-ray protection is considerably heavier than any other types of safety glasses. Why?

The Reason Leaded Glasses are So Heavy

Leaded GlassesIt may seem obvious to some, but not everybody realizes that leaded glasses for radiation safety literally have lead in the glass lenses. More specifically, the lenses are comprised of 70% lead (II) oxide, or PbO. The lead in this compound absorbs x-ray radiation just like the lead sheets we’re used to using for x-ray attenuation.

Leaded glasses are so heavy because the lead in their lenses is so dense. Glass lenses are heavier than most plastic safety lenses to begin with. Also, on top of the leaded lenses being denser and heavier than most other lenses, the lenses in leaded safety glasses are typically larger to offer better coverage for the eye area. This means that there is more heavy lens material, making the glasses some of the heaviest you’ll ever wear.

Why leaded glasses are so heavy, and what can be done about it:

  • Leaded safety glasses contain lead oxide, a compound with the heavy element lead in it. This makes the lenses extremely dense.
  • Leaded glasses typically have larger lenses that normal “street glasses” eyewear because larger lenses offer a wider coverage area. This means the glasses are heavier because there is more heavy lens material in the glasses.
  • Lead lenses are generally composed of about 70% PbO, and they typically attenuate x-ray radiation as well as or better than a 0.75mm thick sheet of pure lead.
  • Leaded glasses are typically designed to be ergonomic and efficient in distributing the weight of the lenses throughout the glasses so that you have maximum comfort while wearing the heavy glasses.
  • Leaded safety glasses also typically come with high-friction nose pads and/or temple pads to help the glasses grip to your face so they don’t slip off. They also typically come with some sort of lanyard or holding strap to keep the glasses on.

If you are shopping for leaded safety glasses, it is important to know that leaded glasses are always going to be heavier than regular glasses. They are extremely dense and have large lenses. However, they should not be uncomfortable. Leaded eyewear manufacturers know that leaded glasses can be a burden if not made well and weighted properly. If you get a pair of leaded glasses or prescription radiation glasses that cause you discomfort as you work, you should exchange them for a pair that works for you.

If you’ve never worn leaded glasses before, don’t be nervous. They are not so heavy that you will be in extreme discomfort while wearing them. Leaded safety glasses are heavy for glasses, so they aren’t going to feel heavy on your neck or shoulders. They will just take a little getting used to when you wear them on your face, much like any other pair of glasses would.

If you have any questions about leaded safety glasses, which ones are right for you, or where to get them, leave us a comment below! We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading, and stay safe!

  1. Roger says:

    What safety standers have to be met by ANSI

    • Estefania Sanmartin says:

      Hi Roger,

      The ANSI Z87 rating is based on specific hazards encountered in the workplace like impact, heat, chemicals or liquid splash, dust, and radiation.

  2. Nora says:

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    facts regarding my study and knowledge.

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