Laser Safety Goggles: Not Your Typical Off The Shelf Product

The use of laser safety goggles, as well as their sale, is typically controlled by government regulations – you're not likely to find a pair sold from the inside of a trench coat at a street crossing! Light from lasers is concentrated, or coherent, and because of its intense power, eye protection is absolutely a must when working even with low-powered lasers. ANSI Z136 is one such set of rules for working with lasers that is followed in the U.S., and there are others that are observed internationally as well. The core safety guidelines in these sets of regulations are meant for protection of person and property when using

Laser Safety Goggles


Prices And Protective Capability

Laser safety goggles come in a variety of styles and specifications depending on the intensity, frequency and wavelength of the type of laser in question. There are goggles for lasers starting at wavelengths starting from 190 nm and $100, and they go all the way up to 10,000+ nm and around $210. The models are so specific to usage that there are literally dozens of incremental grades to pick from, and most, if not all of them, come tinted in various hues to control radiation of varying frequencies. There are also in excess of a dozen different styles, from simple wraparounds, to adjustable "fitovers" or insert-lens models for those wearing prescription glasses.

The Basics of Buying Laser Safety Glasses

In order to know what kind of laser safety goggles to buy, you must first know the laser specs; once you have this information, the goggle manufacturer will be able to guide you to the right pair. You will also need to check for CE certification and any other regulatory standard applicable in your part of the world, or international standards such as the IEC 60825. Finally, you get to pick the frame style and lens color of your preference – at least that they'll let you choose!

The Hot Truth About Laser Damage To Eyes

Now for the gory part – the hazards of not wearing laser safety goggles. The most common form of eye injury from lasers is the thermal effect they have on parts of the eye. The eyes are extremely sensitive to high frequency radiation like light; that, combined with the fact that even lower-powered lasers can cause eye injury makes it essential to protect them with every means available. High powered lasers can be so dangerous that even a diffused reflection from another object can cause irreparable damage. Retinal damage is probably the most common kind, and can happen within a very small area of the eye, and because it's light that's causing the damage, it can happen in a fraction of a second – literally faster than your eyes can blink. Lasers of lower or higher wavelengths don't usually penetrate the eyeball, and cause cataracts or surface burns, while those within the visible range (about 400 nm to 1400 nm) can burn right through the cornea and lens and cause retinal damage. Infrared lasers are particularly dangerous in that the eyes won't even blink to protect themselves – the eyelids are only activated by visible light – so you may not even know that damage has occurred. Experts say that the only thing you will hear is a slight 'pop' or 'click', followed by the creation of a permanent blind spot where your retina literally exploded after reaching boiling point – told you it was gory!

Eyes Are Precious – Don't Fool Around

The dangers of laser damage to the eyes being instant and permanent, there's no set of circumstances under which the wearing of laser safety goggles can be disregarded, no matter what the type of laser or application. Caution should be the highest priority if you want to safely continue working with lasers over a period of time.