Don't be Blinded by the Light | Laser Safety
Laser – Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation; it’s that word ‘radiation’ that tells you why lasers can cause eye damage. Direct, reflected, scattered radiation from a laser can cause damage to the retina, the cornea or the lens of your eyes.
Laser Radiation Damage
Direct laser radiation is when your eye is in contact with the beam coming directly from the laser – without protection, damage is a near certainty. A reflected laser beam only carries a fraction of the strength of the main beam but it’s still enough to do serious damage to your eyes. Scattered laser radiation is similar to reflected radiation except it is diffuse. The effect is like pointing a torch at a ceiling in a dark room and the torchlight ”scattering” to light up the room. Some lasers are quite capable of causing permanent eye damage or blindness even with scattered radiation. So imagine how we felt when we saw an exhibitor using a laser on their stand at a trade show with absolutely no eye protection for themselves or the stand’s visitors!
The Importance of Protection
Unless your name is Superman and you can move faster than the speed of light, if you’re near a laser you need safety eyewear. With some lasers, it only takes a few nanoseconds of exposure to cause blindness.
It’s not just the danger of injury you need to worry about. If you use hazardous sources of light in your workplace, you have a legal requirement to have adequate controls in place to manage the risks. Issuing personal protection equipment (PPE) such as safety eyewear is one such control measure.
Get it Right
Just putting on a pair of tinted goggles is not going to protect your eyes. Obviously you need to see while operating your laser. So what your laser safety eyewear needs to do is absorb or block the invisible but damaging wavelengths your laser generates.
To choose the right eyewear you need to know your laser’s specification with regard to its minimum and maximum wavelength, the laser type e.g. continuous wave or pulse, maximum laser power and maximum pulse power (if applicable). You also need to consider whether you need the eyewear for operator safety or alignment. If it’s required for alignment, the eyewear must be able to take a direct hit from the laser and provide protection for at least 5 seconds or 50 pulses.
Eyewear Safety Benchmark
If your eyewear meets EN207 standard for operator safety or EN 208 for alignment you can be sure your eyewear provides the necessary protection and meets the most comprehensive and highest standards in the world.
Univet laser safety eyewear from TLM meets EN protection standards. Each pair of safety glasses is marked with the appropriate protection level so if you use more than one type of laser you can double check you are wearing the right protection. For a fast, easy and price competitive way of ensuring you have exactly the right protection for your eyes, go to our Laser Safety Eyewear Wizard. Just type in your laser’s specifications and we’ll send you an instant quote.
We also have a Laser Safety Windows Wizard to find the right safety windows for your laser system. Alternatively contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org