I've written a blog article before about the confusion involved with the various lens materials and coatings to choose from when purchasing eyeglasses (found here). One of these choices is polycarbonate, the most shatter resistant lens material. There is another lens material called Trivex with the same properties. It is technically not shatter-proof, but it resists impact better than other lenses (plastic and glass).
I had a patient come into the office last week telling me about an eye injury that took place a little while ago that caused him to go to the emergency room. He gave me permission to use his story in order to educate others about what happened to him. Here's what happened:
The patient was moving a piece of drywall into his attic. The entry to the attic was through a drop-down door from the ceiling, with the attached ladder. In order for the piece of drywall to fit through the space, the patient had to remove the springs from the ladder to allow a wider opening. After the patient successfully moved the drywall, the patient replaced the one end of the spring and attached it to a pin. As the patient was reaching for a nut to screw down the end of the spring to the pin, the spring let loose and whapped the patient in his left eye! Fortunately, the patient was wearing eyeglasses with polycarbonate lenses.
Here is what the frame and lens looked liked. The frame was completely mangled, and the patient said the lens was found later on the floor several feet away. Just the force of the impact created an indentation into the lens and bent the lens edge.
(The mangled frames.)
(You can see the indentation into the lens from the force of the spring.)
(The edge of the lens from the impact. You can see how the force physically dented the lens.)
The patient was rushed to the ER with a nose fracture, and bleeding and inflammation in the eye, as well as bruising and swelling to his eyelids. When he came into my office to tell the story, he mentioned that the bleeding and inflammation had almost completely resolved, but that the vision wasn't quite the same as the non-impacted eye. However, I told him that if he would have chosen regular plastic lenses for his eyeglasses, he probably would have lost the eye.
So, the lesson here is...consider switching to polycarbonate lenses when purchasing your next pair of eyeglasses. The doctor makes eyeglasses recommendations for good reason. I am very happy that this patient of mine followed through on my recommendation.
Polycarbonate saves eyes!