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Up Topic Welding Industry / General Welding Discussion / eyeballs
- - By rick harnish (***) Date 07-25-2009 01:16
Hey ya'll. Over heard my supervisor giving hell to a helper today. The helper was making a quick cut with a torch in clear glasses. The Sup was explaining to him that cutting without shade protection is actually worse longterm than getting flashburn. I personally think he is full of more crap than a port o potty, but wanted to pry the minds of people who paid some attention to the safety portion of welding class.
Radiation off the arc seems far worse to me than a bright flame. I have never felt tears rolling uncontrollably down my face over a torch. Whatcha think?
Parent - By Cactusthewelder (*****) Date 07-25-2009 01:48
I vote on the port o potty theory
Parent - By mightymoe (**) Date 07-25-2009 02:20
Safety First, he could have told him to take the time and protect your self. You only have two eyes. I don't agree with his story.
Parent - - By okiewelder2 (**) Date 07-25-2009 02:31
using a torch is worse for your eyes than welding because most people dont use the right shade of glasses for there eyes. when you see that big blue spot after using a torch that means you dont have the right eye protection. so ive been told.
Parent - By RUSSELL (**) Date 07-25-2009 02:41
it's all bad for your eyes.but a torch don' seem as bad.that's just my opinion.
Parent - - By raftergwelding (*****) Date 07-25-2009 02:46
i never saw no big blue dot after cutting but i always at least wear sun glasses. my grandpa made me ruin a pair of ray bans cause i was cutting with his torch and he went to my truck and got my glasses i told him old man thats a 65.00 pr of glasses he said i dont give a shyt put em on before i kick your ass he was 5'2 and i think he could of done it lol
Parent - By 803056 (*****) Date 07-25-2009 03:23
There seems to be a correlation between cataracts and not wearing the proper shade of filter lens when welding, cutting, brazing, or soldering with torches. At least that what I've read. It has something to do with the intense bright light and infrared rays produced.

Best regards - Al
Parent - By DaveBoyer (*****) Date 07-25-2009 03:32
I doubt it is actually worse than flashburn, but I offer these comments: 1) the flame is too bright to look at with clear glasses.  2) You can't see what is going on without at least some shade in the lenses.

I have a face shield that I believe is about shade #3. It is OK for burning, but for brazing I want #5.

Flashburn comes from UV radiation, while the damage from looking at a torch flame or looking into a forge is from IR, the other end of the spectrum, and overall intensity throughout the light spectrum. This is 3 somewhat different types of damage, none good.
Parent - - By aevald (*****) Date 07-25-2009 03:38
Hello Rick, you are in fact "seeing" the same types of eye damaging rays when you are burning with a torch that you experience while welding with an arc. They are at a lower level of intensity, but will damage your eyes just as bad in the long run. The Super really was trying to look out for the helper and that's part of the problem with many things that we take for granted in our industry, if it doesn't show an immediate effect we don't tend to pay it all that much attention. You will most likely notice the effects of not wearing protection with torches in how well you retain your night vision and possibly how your eyes react to the headlights of oncoming cars at night. That's my $.02 on this topic. Best regards, Allan
Parent - By Superflux (****) Date 07-25-2009 04:20 Edited 07-25-2009 04:27
this is not scientific by any means, but! I know for a fact that the IR from a torch CAN and WILL burn the eyes. When I first started in the metal working trades ('74), visited a friend who asked if I could repair a cart for him with only a cutting torch and some wire hangers. Figured might as well give it a shot. After over an hour in a dark shop with no eye protection, the repairs were made and on to "Miller Time". Next morning I was in agony, couldn't open my eyes. Was pretty much out of commission for a couple of days. Felt like someone had dumped a shovel full of floor dry in my eyes. Said to myself...Self, if an "f'ing" torch can do this, I'll never be guilty of letting an ARC get to me. I guess lessons learned hard are learned well. Never was guilty of flash burn.

So yes the torch can damage the eyes, it just takes longer.
Would you rather get burned by 600F molten solder or 2700f molten steel?
Parent - - By CWI555 (*****) Date 07-25-2009 12:32
The worse hazard for your eyes is the "blue hazard".
Watching an arc will raise the temperature in your eye to the point of pain but watching the flame will not in the same time frame.
You know immediately when you have arc flashed yourself, I don't think I have to explain what that feels like, but in contrast, watching the cutting torch at the light frequency it puts out does nearly the same amount of damage without giving you that sharp pain and momentary black of an arc flash.
Over time your retina will cook just the same.
Look at it like frying an egg vs boiling an egg. Either way it's cooked, but one does it without your realizing it until it's to late.

Your supervisor did the right thing.

Parent - - By rick harnish (***) Date 07-25-2009 18:06
Thank you all for your input! I have learned something. 
I rarely cut without dark glasses simply because I want to make a clean cut. But are the typical dark safety glasses enough?
Parent - - By welderbrent (*****) Date 07-25-2009 18:53

In my opinion, NO.  The dark tinted safety glasses will cut UV but not IR.  That is what the number rated glasses and lenses are for.  The number is the darkness rating for cutting the IR.

Any safety glass, sun glasses, eye glasses will cut UV, but, to remove the harmful effects of IR you need the others.

They make safety glasses, full face shields, and the lenses as in welding hoods in #3 & #5.  Hood lenses are easily available in about every number 3-12 for use in goggles or hoods.

I know most everyone know the above info, just covering the bases for those who may not.

Have a Great Day,  Brent
Parent - By rlitman (***) Date 07-26-2009 15:54
Both UV and IR are harmful in enough quantity.  Actually visible light can be harmful at enough intensity too, but it is immediately painful, while UV and IR are not.

The amount of UV and IR emitted (especially UV) are dependent on the temperature, and since oxy-acetylene is still hotter than the surface of the sun, it produces more UV than staring into the sun, and plenty of IR to be dangerous.

IR is a radiated form of heat.  It's [most of] the heat you feel when your hand is near a glowing weld, or the warmth on your skin from the sun.
Since the retina has no cells that sense heat (unlike your skin), sufficient IR (which is focused on the retina by the eye's lens and cornea), will burn up the retina like an ant under a magnifying glass in the sun, WITHOUT ANY PAIN.  Just to restate that, your retina is no more capable of sensing heat, than your tongue is of tasting "blue", so it is easy to cause permanent burning of the retina, with no warning such as pain.  Fortunately, low IR exposure isn't thought to have long-term effects (that is until you pass that threshold of burning).

UV is typically associated with long-term eye damage (cataracts and slow irreversible damage to the retina, etc.), however I believe that it is also the cause of arc-flash burn (which is very much like a sunburn on the cornea), but your ophthalmologist is better qualified to clarify that.  Thankfully, most plastic lenses today (even clear glasses, and especially sunglasses) block a large proportion of UV (like 99% or so).
While 1% of the UV emitted from an electric arc welding process is still VERY dangerous (since the significantly hotter electric arc emits MUCH more UV), that remainder from oxy-acetylene should be ok.

Our bodies have have no way of sensing UV, or immediately sensing it damage.  On hazy days, we're more likely to be sunburned, because the IR (which we feel, and which makes our skin feel hot) is more blocked by the haze than the UV, and so we allow ourselves to be more exposed to UV, since we don't feel the damage.

By this point, I'm expecting someone to respond:
after they fell asleep on their keyboard, but if you're still awake I just want to be clear that I can't put this one to rest.

There probably isn't enough IR in OA to cause retinal burning, but if it does happen, it will happen without warning, and the damage is permanent.
I can say that mirrored sunglasses will block MUCH more IR than cheap chemically tinted glasses, so if you must use sunglasses, mirroring should offer decent IR protection for OA.
There are many kinds of dark tints out there, that block a lot of visible light, but are almost transparent to IR, so be careful.  Lenses with a shade number are guaranteed to be using a tint that blocks IR and UV as well as visible, across the board.
Just about any plastic glasses should afford decent UV protection for OA.  My optician actually has a spectrophotometer, which can measure exactly how well my glasses block IR and UV.  That may be something you might want to ask about.

Still, I ALWAYS use goggles (or my auto-dark welding mask, turned off), for cutting, because of the danger of a spark bouncing in my eye.  I've already had a steel shaving removed from my eye, and never want to go through that again.
Parent - - By jwright650 (*****) Date 07-27-2009 18:45
These guys are right...OSHA requires that you use a #3 shade or darker for cutting with an Oxy Fuel torch.

See 1910.252(b)(2)

Also see chart on the same page
Parent - - By rlitman (***) Date 07-27-2009 20:17
Shade 3 would be just medium tinted sunglasses (or a tinted grinding face shield). Sunglasses tend to run from shade 2.5 (pretty light) through 4 (for snowy mountain peak conditions).  The catch, is that it needs to be rated with a shade number, and not just a cheap pair bought from a street vendor.
I just found out that Ray Bans (and other quality sunglasses) already have shade # ratings.  Hummm.
Parent - By jwright650 (*****) Date 07-27-2009 20:44
We got caught during an OSHA audit of our plant. One of my guys(who usually cuts using his #3 glasses) wasn't wearing his tinted eye protection when the auditor and I were making a round through the shop. He was just wearing a clear pair of safety glasses. They let us off with a warning because I could show proof of past violations where we disciplined the violators, and we posted a memo on the board the same day stating that All employees engaged in oxy/fuel or plasma cutting operations will wear the proper tinted eye protection.
Parent - - By welderbrent (*****) Date 07-28-2009 14:25 Edited 07-28-2009 14:40

My question would be as to rather their shade number was actually a rating that qualified as a safety lens that would effectively block IR as well as UV or is it just some kind of darkness rating?  If it is for IR it should also have a tag and/or small imprint on the corner of the lens that states 'IR3.0'.  They should also state that they are compliant to ANSI (I believe) Z87.1,  **IMPACT REQUIREMENTS**.

John mentioned the OSHA regs for safety eye protection, it is also well written in AISC 'General Safety Rules for Fabricators', ANSI 49.1 'Safety in Welding and Cutting', AWS 'Shop Guide to Welding Safety', and many other documents.

I have not personally found any 'sunglasses' that are of proper quality to quaify as burning/cutting/welding glasses.  That does not mean I am saying I know they do not exist.  I would just have to check them out as to their safety rating and IR/UV rating before I would let anyone in my shop use them and especially before I would use them myself.

Thank you for the information though. Oh, I have also found that I can generally buy good safety/cutting glasses through my local welding supply cheaper than I can buy 'good' sunglasses.

Have a Great Day,  Brent
Parent - By jwright650 (*****) Date 07-28-2009 14:35
....another thing is that safety glasses also meet ANSI Z87.1 impact requirements, whereas regular sun glasses do not.
Parent - By tigrooter (**) Date 07-28-2009 05:29
blueblocker sunglasses stay up past 3 am and order a pair.
Up Topic Welding Industry / General Welding Discussion / eyeballs

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