Pierre Gougelman is responsible for manufacturing the first artificial eye in 1851. During that time, people in the public thought artificial eyes could actually give people brand new sight. Wouldn’t it have been nice if that was the case? When it comes to lasers, there are many lasers that can cause severe and permanent eye damage. Some lasers can also result in blindness.Lasers are used for a significant amount of applications today, including the following:
- medical uses
- barcode scanning
- laser pointers
- military use
- industrial applications
What is Laser Light?
Laser light is not the same as the traditional light we are accustomed to. Laser light differs in a variety of ways, including the following:
- Lasers can emit directional light. This means that the laser lights that are emitted will be a narrow beam that will be sent in a specific direction. The light that is obtained from a light bulb will emit lighting in multiple directions that are not near the source.
Laser light is made up of one wavelength. On the other hand, the traditional white light includes multiple wavelengths.These are two of the differences that will result in laser beams having the possibility to become very hazardous, although the laser beams can be very helpful.
A laser can produce radiation that is non-ionizing. Non-ionizing radiation is not as hazardous as ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation can negatively impact normal cell processes. Lasers operate on the electromagnetic spectrum, and they operate within the ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths. When eyes are exposed in this region, serious eye damage can be the result.There are multiple laser classes, and they are all categorized. Two of the more serious laser classes are 3 and 4.Class 1– This class of lasers is typically safe as long as no one attempts to take them apart.Class 2- If you stare into a Class 2 laser beam, you will face a potential hazard. However, the reflexes we have when it comes to blinking will generally prevent your eyes from facing any damages.Class 3- This class of lasers can lead to a hazard if the beams have been focused into the eye. While the MPE can be exceeded, there is a low risk of injury.Class 4- If the eyes are directly impacted by a Class 4 laser, this can result in permanent damage to the eye. There is also a serious risk of one’s skin being damaged. Class 4 lasers can also lead to fires and other hazards.
Eye injuries are of major concern when it comes to the use of lasers. The impact that lasers will have on the eye will depend on a variety of factors, including the following:
- eye pigmentation
- size of one’s pupil
- the length of time of the laser pulse
- the laser’s wavelength(not every wavelength will have the same impact on the eyes)
Eyes that are exposed at the far infrared or far ultraviolet level can seriously impact one’s cornea due to the absorption. A usual injury would be burns in the cornea. Another serious injury can be something known as welder’s arc. This condition will generally give you a very irritating sensation. Light from the sun is part of the far ultraviolet exposure, and the rays from the sun can also have a serious impact.Eyes that are exposed at or near ultraviolet level will generally result in the radiation being absorbed into the lens. The effects are not always instant, in fact, you may not experience any effects until several years later. One of the eye injuries that can occur is cataracts. For many people, a cataract injury will require surgery.
The Importance of Eyewear
Since the eye is very sensitive to damage by light, regardless of it is in the spectrum or near the spectrum, proper eyewear should always be a top concern. For many who work with lasers that are low-powered, laser safety glasses will be the only requirement.Laser safety glasses are so important because without the protection many people are likely to suffer serious damage to their eyesight. Lasers will come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and all the lasers will have their own level of power, wavelengths, and pulse. There will not be a one-size-fits-all option when it comes to eyewear due to the variety of differences in lasers. This is why there are so many laser safety glasses on the market. Users need to have the ability to choose the right protection based on what type of lasers they will be using.
Laser Safety Glasses
Many users rely heavily on the proper laser safety glasses. The right laser safety glasses are very important to those who are working closely with laser beams. Laser stray reflections are not always something that people think about because they are not obvious to everyone, especially when users are using an infrared laser beam.
Laser safety glasses will generally be made with glass materials or polycarbonate materials. Laser safety glasses that are made of polycarbonate materials are lightweight. Glass laser safety glasses may not be lightweight, but they will provide a wide-range of protection. Glass laser safety glasses are generally stronger and they will generally be more resistant to marks and scratches.While having the proper eyewear protection for users is important, it is also important that users are aware of the common reasons that accidents occur when lasers are involved. Some of the main reasons that laser beam accidents are listed below:
- The laser was accidentally fired
- The laser’s beam path was altered
- Additional optical components were added
- The laser settings were changed without factoring in other requirements
- Interlocks were bypassed
In addition to ensuring everyone is aware of the ways to avoid accidents, it is also a great idea to have laser safety signs and labels.What steps are you taking to ensure that all of your users will have the proper knowledge and protection? Contact us today for more information on eye protection and laser safety glasses.