Protecting your eyes is one of the first rules of working with machinery. Tools that operate at high speeds—table saws, routers, drill presses, sanders, etc.—throw particles far enough and fast enough to cause serious injuries to your eyes. They can also create a lot of dust that may be only an irritant to your eyes but harmful to your lungs. When I’m working with power tools I wear a dust mask and safety glasses, but the two don’t work well together. A lot of warm, moist air flows up from the mask and fogs the safety glasses. I can’t work safely or accurately with my vision obscured, so I have to stop and wipe the fog away. I occasionally catch myself peeping under the safety glasses—a dangerous practice.
Safety glasses are fairly effective in blocking particles propelled directly at the eyes, but I’ve had bits of wood ricochet off my cheeks into my eyes. Routers can unleash a torrent of wood dust that swirls around safety glasses and into my eyes. Afterwards I dab mud out of the corners of my eyes.
DeWalt’s Concealer looks like ski goggles rather than safety glasses. The soft rubber seal provides a comfortable fit on my face. I haven’t yet taken a good whack to my face while wearing the Concealer, but the soft, cushioned frame is easily going to be much less painful than rigid safety glasses have been when that has happened to me in the past. The strap keeps the Concealer in place—it won’t slip down a sweaty nose—and doesn’t interfere with the pads of my hearing-protection earmuffs.
Dog-leg slots on the top and bottom of the goggles provide ventilation without giving a particles a direct path to the eyes. The wrap-around lens doesn’t restrict vision at all: The perimeter of the goggles is at the limits of my peripheral vision.
I wear reading glasses for close work and have to wear goggles over them but the glasses frame makes contact with the lens of the goggles and makes the fit loose over my cheeks. One pair of aviator-style reading glasses had one temple broken off, so I snapped the other temple off and bent the bridge a bit to match the curve of the Concealer’s lens. They’re now a perfect fit and a semi-permanent fixture in the goggles.
The Concealer caries the mark “Z87+,” indicating the lens meets U.S. government occupational standards for impact resistance, both high-mass (a pointed 1.1-lb projectile dropped 50”) and high-velocity (a ¼” steel ball traveling at 102 miles per hour) impacts without fracture.
I’ve had some surgery on my eyes in the past year, and I’m now much more aware that I can’t take my vision for granted. It’s a relief now to be able to protect my eyes consistently without being in a constant fight against fog.
Christopher Cunningham is the editor of Small Boats Monthly.
The Concealer by DeWalt sells for around $10 at numerous online and retail outlets.
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