Advances in the medical device field have resulted in the expanded use of laser technology in healthcare, the military, and many other fields. Whether you are a laser aesthetician at a doctor’s office, a military officer, or an engineering photonics specialist, you must always remember to fully shield your eyes from the potential harm that can result from exposure to lasers. Failure to select the proper laser safety glasses can cause discomfort, gaps in protection, or permanent damage to your retina or cornea. Below are the seven steps to take in order to ensure that you pick the correct laser safety glasses for your specific application:
- Determine the operating wavelength of the lasers with which you work
- Take note of the type of power produced by your laser beam
- Note the type of environment within which you work
- Consider prescription laser safety glasses if you currently wear glasses or contacts
- Understand the application requirements of your industry
- Choose the style of frame that offers the best mix of safety, comfort, and style
- Enlist the guidance of a trained safety professional if necessary
By carefully considering each of these factors, you will maximize protection for your eyes and prevent injury. Below is a closer look at each of these steps and the role that each plays in the protection of your eyes.
Determining the Operating Wavelength of a Laser Beam
In the realm of laser technology, there are two general types of laser wavelengths to consider. The first is known as an aiming beam wavelength and the second is known as an operating wavelength. The aiming beam wavelength is generally considered to be safe to the naked eye, so is not typically relevant when evaluating options for safety glasses. The operating wavelength of a laser beam is usually listed on the outside of the laser device itself and should be one of the most important determining factors in the type of glasses that you select.
Noting the Type of Power of a Laser Beam
Lasers vary greatly in their scope and type of power that they offer. When reviewing options for laser safety glasses, you should indicate which of the following two types of lasers you work with:
- Continuous-wave laser systems
- Pulsed laser systems
Laser safety glasses are manufactured differently depending upon which type of laser system is utilized. For instance, many cosmetic surgery centers employ Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy to improve the skin condition of their patients. The safety glasses typically worn by technicians who administer IPL treatments include IPL filters that maximize visibility and color recognition for laser operators.
The Significance of Your Work Environment
When choosing laser safety glasses, you need to consider your work environment and your viewing requirements. If you work in a military setting or in an industry that prohibits any restrictions to your field of view, then you may wish to avoid laser safety glasses that include prominent side shields. Conversely, patients who are undergoing IPL treatments can wear goggles or glasses with prominent side shields because they often close their eyes while undergoing treatment and do not need to be able to see during the procedure.
Consider Prescription Laser Safety Glasses if you Require Vision Correction
Many people do not realize that laser safety glasses are available with prescription correction to simultaneously satisfy the need for safety and vision correction. In general, there are two types of prescription laser safety glasses:
- Single vision prescription laser glasses
- Bifocal prescription laser glasses
The single vision style of glasses provides a uniform prescription across the entire lens. The lined bifocal prescription glasses provide correction to facilitate reading on the bottom of the lens and distance correction on the top portion of the lens.
Know the Application Requirements of Your Industry
The type of laser safety glasses that you need will vary according to your application requirements. For instance, applications within the military field, research industry or field of medicine require laser safety glasses with the highest level of protection. In fact, the stakes are so high within these three arenas that some organizations have a designated Learning Safety Officer (LSO) whose primary purpose is to provide guidance and recommendations to employees regarding laser safety glasses.
Selecting the Style of Frame that is the Best Fit for Your Individual Needs
When comparing types of frames for your safety glasses, you should always place safety and comfort ahead of style or fashion. Consideration should be given to the following factors:
- Industry standards
- The size and structure of your face
- Your personal style
Because the assortment of safety glasses is constantly expanding and evolving, you can usually find a nice selection of laser safety glasses that offer the highest level of protection for your eyes while satisfying your personal desire for comfort and style.
Enlisting the guidance of an Occupational Safety Wear Expert
One of the best ways to maximize protection for your eyes is to seek the expertise of an industry expert. The laser eyewear specialists with Phillips Safety Products, Inc. have the experience required to help you evaluate the many options for laser eyewear. They will analyze the wavelength and diameter of the laser beams to which you are exposed and guide you through the critical parts of the decision-making process. They will help you choose the laser safety glasses that are the best suited for your applications and work environment. Please contact us to learn why your laser safety glasses should be your most important accessory at work.