Will welding goggles protect reflections from a green (532nm) laser?
February 22, 2007 2:55 PM   Subscribe

Will standard welding goggles protect against reflections from a green laser?

When using these lasers the sellers recommend special goggles be worn to protect one's eyes against reflections or accidental beam exposure.

I am wondering if welding goggles wouldn't provide the same (or probably better) protection? The goggles the laser-sites sell are a bit pricey.

I'm not sure which wavelengths of light welding goggles block...does anyone know if they block 532nm?
posted by jjsonp to Technology (11 answers total)
 
Welding goggles, and welding glass, from what I have seen, dim the entire spectrum.

And, for pricey ... how would you feel about answering the question, "So you're blind in one eye because you didn't want to spend $50 on protective gear when dealing with frikkin' laser beams?" Not to sound harsh, but ... how much is your vision worth?
posted by adipocere at 3:02 PM on February 22, 2007


It worked for Val Kilmer. So it must be true!
posted by jackofsaxons at 3:36 PM on February 22, 2007


I can't help but think of the joke warning stickers available in my favorite laser catalog,

"Do not look into laser with remaining eye".

Welding goggles are pretty broad spectrum blockers, but since lasers emit light on a very narrow band, without testing, you don't know if the one light frequency you need is blocked sufficiently or not. You could try shooting the laser through your googles onto a piece of paper, using indirect observation of the results to minimize risk. If you can see a spot on the paper, you know the light is getting thru.
posted by nomisxid at 3:48 PM on February 22, 2007


that is a good idea...i just tried it, and the beam continues through the goggles quite brightly, although definitely diminished.
posted by jjsonp at 4:21 PM on February 22, 2007


If it's under about 5mW, just try to avoid looking at the thing. Otherwise, get yourself some real goggles specific to the type of laser you're using.

$50 might seem expensive, but compared to a lifetime of impaired vision reminding you of that one time you decided to cut corners...
posted by lalas at 4:35 PM on February 22, 2007


Full-face welding masks will block the entire spectrum. I've also used goggles for brazing/soldering that were tinted green (oxyacetylene brazing emits an orangish light) - you'll probably want to steer clear of those.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:04 PM on February 22, 2007


"Block" is a problem word here. If a mask "blocks" the entire spectrum then it will be black and you won't be able to see anything. These kinds of things usually attenuate some or all of the spectrum. The question would be whether they would attenuate the particular frequency you're concerned with enough to make it cease being a hazard. And unless it actually is outright opaque at that frequency, I think what it would do is to slow the process of damage, but not prevent it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:26 PM on February 22, 2007


thanks for all the responses.

i am not as worried about damaging my vision as some of you seem to think i should be; i'm just not convinced that very limited reflection splashes of laser light will be that dangerous (think concerts with far more powerful lasers, military use of these, etc.).

i don't mind spending the $50 for expensive single-purpose sunglasses, but if something i have on hand (welding goggles) would do the trick that would be preferable.

they are the green-tinted type though and clearly don't attenuate much of the 532nm frequency...so i'll try a welding mask if i can find one for significantly less than $50 if it seems to work; otherwise i'll probably opt for the special lenses.
posted by jjsonp at 6:37 PM on February 22, 2007


$50 is a bargain, man! At work we have these and these. I guess be thankful you're not working with IR.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:43 PM on February 22, 2007


I was under the impression that "the goggles do nothing".

i am not as worried about damaging my vision as some of you seem to think i should be

You have the ability to recognize that you are not accessing the risk the same as the others. Use that ability wisely.

Buy the right equipment for the job.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:36 PM on February 22, 2007


i am not as worried about damaging my vision as some of you seem to think i should be; i'm just not convinced that very limited reflection splashes of laser light will be that dangerous (think concerts with far more powerful lasers, military use of these, etc.).

It's interesting that you mention this. Laser weapons that purposefully blind are banned by the Geneva Convention, but reflection splashes from other military laser systems have also been criticized for their ability to accidentally blind people, up to and including the people firing them. The concert displays can also harm eyesight, sometimes even when set up properly.

In short, I think you should buy the goggles.
posted by vorfeed at 3:59 PM on February 23, 2007


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