Eye Armor: The ANSI Z87.1+ Standard

Eye Armor: The ANSI Z87.1+ Standard

It's a typical workday. Sweat beads on your brow, tools whir in the background, and a stray metal fragment shoots across the workshop. In that split second, the only thing separating your precious eyesight from danger is a thin layer of polycarbonate certified to ANSI Z87.1+.

This isn't your average office eye chart. It's a battle-tested standard, the sixth iteration in its fight against workplace eye injuries. And while it's voluntary, many, including OSHA, champion it as the gold standard for keeping workers' eyes safe. Combined with safety practices and other gear, your shades are a critical component of your layered defenses.

This Z87.1+ standard might sound like technical jargon, but it's a foundational standard that sets the performance baseline. It starts with a slew of optical requirements, which include optical quality, refractive power, astigmatism, resolving power, prism/prism imbalance, luminous transmittance and haze, 

We’ve created this handy cheat sheet to help make these a bit easier to understand:



In addition to providing impeccable vision, your Z87.1+ eyewear has another job to do: become a force field for your eyes. The ANSI standard puts them through the wringer to make sure they're up to the task.

First, think of a one-inch diameter steel ball plummeting from 50 inches above. That's what your lenses face in the drop ball test. Then, there's the ignition test, where they get grilled with a searing metal rod over 1200°F. No igniting, no glowing after the 5-second branding – they have to stay cool under pressure. And let's not forget the salty dunk: your shades spend 15 minutes in boiling brine, proving they won't rust or crumble during those sweaty summer days. Finally, in this case, size matters. They need to cover enough ground – 40mm wide by 33mm tall over each eye is the requirement. And there’s a side coverage test – that crucial 10mm zone back from your pupil near the corner of your eye, is where pesky hazards love to sneak in. Fail to cover it – fail the test.

But the tests don't stop there. To meet the infamous ‘impact protection’ requirement and earn the coveted Z87.1+ merit badge (note the “+”), there are some added brutal tests. There's a high-mass drop where a 500g ball plummets from above. Then they’re shot with a 1/4-inch steel cannon ball at 150 fps. And finally, the needle nightmare, where a weighted needle plunges down from 50 inches. Any breakage, disassembly, or penetration, and it fails.

And speaking of sneaky… how about that irritating villain lurking in sunlight: ultraviolet (UV) rays. Think of them as invisible hazards that wrinkle your skin and can harm your eyes. That's where WarBird steps in, our lenses not only pass the rigorous impact tests, but also block a whopping 99.99% of those UV rays. It's simple: we ensure your shades let in the good stuff (visible light, the colors, the beauty) while keeping out the bad (those wrinkle-causing, eye-damaging UV rays).

Every WarBird lens you wear is a guardian standing between your precious eyesight and unforeseen dangers. With every drop ball test passed, every high-velocity projectile deflected, we ensure you can face your day with unwavering confidence. So, the next time you reach for a pair of shades, remember, you're not just choosing style, you're choosing to see the world, safely, for years to come. Explore our Z87.1+ collection and find your perfect shield for adventure, because at WarBird, your vision is our mission.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.