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Perfect Glassblowing Safety Glasses (for hot glass)

Posted on March 1, 2015 by Tony Patti

I needed and got new prescription eye glasses, and so wanted to get new glassblowing safety glasses which met two mandatory requirements for my glassblowing with a blowpipe:
1. fit-over my prescription eye glasses (unlike the clip-ons I was using before), and
2. side-shields which did not reduce my peripheral vision

My preference is for polycarbonate (PC) for impact resistance (my prescription eyeglasses are polycarbonate). Trivia: due to its light weight and high impact resistance, polycarbonate is the dominant material for making automotive headlamp lenses.

tl;dr If you do “hot glass” with a blowpipe, you want these glassblowing safety glasses, and best of all they are under $15 on Amazon! (and with an option for free shipping too) - uvex-s111029-astrospect-3000-shade-2-glassblowing-polycarbonate-safety-glasses.jpg
Uvex S111029 Astrospec 3000 Safety Eyewear, Black Frame, Shade 2.0 Infra-Dura Ultra-Dura Hardcoat Lens

I had been happy for many years with my clip-on Shade 2 AUR-99 which are a soft green color and available from Aura Lens. The most important aspect of my previously purchasing my AUR-99 was how well the lenses filter out (attenuate) the dangerous Infrared as well as the Ultraviolet portions of the spectrum, as shown on this image on their website at

Auralens AUR-99 spectral chart
But that got me thinking: where could I find out more information about the different “Shade Numbers”? Because as you can see in the graph above, as the Shade increases from shade 1.7 to shade 2.0 to shade 2.5 there is dramatic reduction in visible light transmission (VLT), from nearly 60% VLT to just over 20% VLT. I found this informative table on this Elvex Safety Glasses website:

Lens Description UV Light Protection
High UV Protection
Blue Light Protection
Infra Red Protection
Visible Light Transmission (VLT)
Welding Shade 2
PC lens
100% 99.9% 98% 97% 29%
Welding Shade 3
PC lens
100% 99.9% 99.6% 99.9% 13%
Welding Shade 5
PC lens
100% 100% 99.9% 99.9% less than 2%

If you take a look at page 50 of the Uvex Safety Eyewear, you will see that these safety glasses are offered in three different shades: 1.7 and 4 and 5.

Uvex 9168 in Shade 1.7 or Shade 4 or Shade 5
From my Google searches, it seemed like there were a LOT of shade 3 welding glasses and also shade 5 welding glasses, but not many which had increased visible light transmission (VLT) in the range of shade 1.7 through shade 2.

The box these Uvex Shade 2 Astrospec safety glasses arrived in says “Uvex by Honeywell”, and Honeywell is a company I trust. - Uvex by Honeywell - glassblowing safety glasses

I have been using my Uvex Shade 2 for my glassblowing for several weeks now. My one additional suggestion is to consider microfiber cleaning cloths to remove fingerprints etc. I researched microfiber cleaning cloths on Amazon, and really liked MagicFiber’s Premium Microfiber Cleaning Cloths which have an amazing 4.9 out of 5.0 rating from over 3,600 customer reviews! I can’t think of any other product on Amazon which has gotten so many uniformly positive reviews! And also available with Amazon’s free shipping offer. - Amazon - Microfiber cleaning cloths for glassblowing safety glasses

These are of course my personal opinions, YMMV, each person should carefully evaluate their own specific needs and requirements for safety equipment.

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glassblowing web page at last modified: September 16 2017