It may seem like common sense advice, but eye protection is complicated business, especially if laser cutting and welding are involved. Welders have plenty of options when it comes to protective eyewear; features are intended to block out harmful materials, shield from blinding lights and reduce distractions. We’ve listed some helpful information below.
Laser hazards. The biggest risk of laser work is that a beam of light directly enters the eye in a way that permanently or temporarily blinds a person. Exposure can be direct or bouncing off of a reflective surface. Or it the light could be scattered by a non-reflective surface. That same light emits UV radiation that could gradually blind a person or cause cataracts.
Discomfort. When we talk about discomfort, we are referring to the protective gear itself, which slips off the face, fogs up or irritates a person’s face. It sounds insignificant when compared with laser damage, but comfort and visibility are crucial to prevent distractions. If a welder is burdened by uncomfortable goggles, he might take his chances without them and put himself and others at risk. Or if he wears the goggles and becomes distracted by them sliding around, he could become careless.
What to look for. In addition to being comfortable, you want eyewear that is durable, and you want it to cover the entire area at risk. That means goggles that wrap around the face or include side-shields. You want the lenses to be hard-coated to prevent scratching, and a hydrophobic coating will stop condensation and prevent them from fogging up. In terms of protecting against UV rays, your best bet is optical-grade polycarbonate materials that effectively absorb radiation. You can also opt for tinted lenses that ease discomfort from glare.