Post: Can I Use Welding Glasses to Look at the Sun?

Can I Use Welding Glasses to Look at the Sun?

Looking directly at the sun can cause severe vision impairment and partial blindness, which is why people usually avoid doing so. However, during a solar eclipse, viewing the sun can be a desirable experience. Unfortunately, solar eclipse glasses can quickly sell out when an eclipse occurs, leaving people to search for alternatives such as welding glasses. It is noteworthy that most welding glasses are not suitable for looking at the sun, and using them can be risky for your eyesight. Only welding glasses with the darkest shade level of 14 can protect your eyes properly, but these are uncommon and may not be available in many hardware stores.

If you’re looking for solar eclipse glasses, Phillips Safety offers glasses with lens material certified to be shade 14, and compliant with all ISO 12312-2:2015 transmission requirements for direct solar observation. These glasses can be safely reused for viewing the sun indefinitely, as long as they are kept in good condition.

It’s important to beware of welding glasses without a marking that designates the shading level, as using them can be a risky gamble for viewing the sun. Shade level 14 is only used for heavy-duty welding, which is uncommon. Even many welding operations in shipyards require shade levels less than 14. In summary, you can use welding glasses to look at the sun, but only when they have shade level 14 lenses.


It is commonly known that the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be harmful to the eyes, which is why a good pair of sunglasses should be able to block UVA and UVB rays. However, these types of sunglasses are only intended for indirect sunlight exposure, such as sunlight reflected off everyday objects like trees and rocks, and scattered blue light from the sky. It’s crucial to understand that sunglasses are not designed for direct sun viewing, as this can cause severe damage to the eyes.

The reason why sunglasses are inadequate for this purpose is that direct viewing of the sun exposes the eyes to extreme levels of UV, visible light, and infrared radiation. For comparison, solar eclipse glasses can reduce light intensity by 10,000, while ordinary sunglasses only provide a reduction factor of ten. This intense ultraviolet light can damage the cornea and lens of the eye, while intense visible light and infrared radiation can damage the retina. The lens of the eye acts as a magnifying glass, focusing the intense light onto a concentrated area on the retina, causing thermal burns and photochemical damage.

Since sunglasses block little infrared and do not block enough visible light to prevent retinal damage, they are not suitable for viewing the sun during a solar eclipse. If sunglasses did block sufficient visible light for eclipse viewing, they would be too dark for other activities such as driving or walking, making it difficult to see anything other than the sun or bright welding arc flashes.


Protect Your Eyes: It cannot be emphasized enough: do not view a partially eclipsed sun with unprotected eyes. Use solar eclipse glasses that meet ISO 12312-2:2015 requirements or welding glasses with a shade level of 14.

Avoid Optical Devices: Optical devices such as cameras, telescopes, or binoculars can greatly magnify sunlight’s intensity, making them unsafe for viewing the eclipse. So, do not use them with unprotected eyes.

Research and Prepare: Know whether you’ll be within the path of totality or outside it. If you’re outside, always wear eye protection throughout the entire phenomenon, as the sun is never entirely blocked. If you’re inside, know how long the eclipse totality will last and remove your protection only when the moon completely covers the sun. Protect your eyes when the sun begins to reappear.

Inspect Your Protection: Ensure that your solar eclipse glasses or welding glasses are not damaged and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Follow Proper Technique: Always look away from the sun while putting on and taking off your protection. Never remove your protection while looking at the sun.


There are other exciting uses for solar eclipse glasses. One that can be mentioned is the unique experience to see the planet as a black dot against the bright surface of the sun, unlike the usual white spot in the dark sky. Moreover, solar eclipse glasses are also helpful in observing large solar sunspots that periodically occur on the sun’s surface. These sunspots are responsible for the magnificent Aurora Borealis in the northern hemisphere and the Aurora Australis in the southern hemisphere.

Apart from these events, solar eclipse glasses provide a fascinating way to view sunbursts through clouds, trees, and buildings, inspiring artists and photographers with its beauty and spiritual significance.

In conclusion, protecting your eyes during a solar eclipse is essential to avoid permanent eye damage. Whether you’re planning to witness the upcoming solar eclipses or interested in observing other solar phenomena, Phillips Safety offers a wide range of high-quality glasses that meet the necessary safety standards. With our durable and comfortable designs, you can enjoy the wonders of the sun without putting your eyes at risk.

If you still aren’t sure which welding glasses are right for you, it’s a good idea to give us a call at 1-866-575-1307 or talk to us through our chat or e-mail us at

Our welding experts will be able to tell you what you need for your application.