A welding helmet features a window at the front that allows the user to see the item they are working on.
Because of heat reaction against metal, the windows are typically tinted to filter out specific amounts of infrared or UV light. The amount of heat produced can differ depending on the metal you are welding.
Welding helmet shades
Welding helmets feature special darkened lenses that help filter out the individual UV lights, therefore, protecting your eyes. The lowest rating of the welding helmets is 2. This is commonly used for soldering and can protect your eyes. However, it is not an appropriate choice for some kinds of work or indirect sunlight.
Choosing the best helmet shade for looking at the sun
The highest shade of a welding helmet lens is14. While these helmets with a higher setting will provide less exposure to the UV lights, they can also be dark, hindering your view.
As long as the best welding helmets have no cracks or scratches, you can be assured that the eyes will be well protected from the UV lights. The recommended shade for welding is a shade of 10 to 13. If your welding lens is strong enough, it will save you from eye flash burns. The amount of flash burns often depends on the amperage.
When you burn your eyes several times as a welder, you might feel like you have grains of hot sand in the eyes. However, as compared to the welding sparks, the sun is usually brighter. This is why the recommended shade for looking at the sun is 14 although anything shades 12 and higher will also work.But like already noted, a shade of 14 will have greater dimming powers and compromise your viewing ability.
If you look at the sun with a shade lower than 12, you are putting your eyes at risk of damage. If you use a shade of less than 13, it might still protect you, but there is still a considerable risk of damage to the eyes.
If you have the older welding helmets and don’t know their shade, we recommend avoiding using them. Instead, you should get a modern welding helmet or an option with auto-darkening welding helmets, where you can adjust the filter level to your needs.
Effects of looking directly at the sun
So, what’s the big deal of looking directly at the sun? You have probably looked directly at the sun while covering your eyes with your hands. But probably, no damage happened to your eyes. You have probably even looked at the eclipse, and nothing happened to your eyes. However, looking directly into the sun can have serious consequences.
This is the reason why you start to blink a lot when you look directly into the sun. When the sun’s UV rays get into the eye, they will get to the back of the eye before getting to the retina. The retina is a tissue that is very sensitive to light. When the UV rays get into the eye, they will cause irritation.
Free radicals can cause oxidation around the tissues of the eyes.
This can, in turn, cause:
• Oxidative harm to the eye
• Damage to the rods and cone
While we all respond differently to the sun, the damage will mostly start to happen after a few seconds of looking directly into the eye.
Wearing the right welding helmet can protect you from:
• Watery eyes
• Sore eyes
• Discomfort from bright lights
Some of the severe symptoms you are likely to experience include:
• Distortion of your vision
• Blind spots
• Blurred vision
• Loss of color
This can also result in a permanent loss of vision when you look at the sun for too long without the right protective equipment. In case you have been exposed to direct sunlight, you may want to schedule an appointment with a doctor.
You now understand that looking directly at the sun without the right protective helmet can cause damage to your eyes. Therefore you should ensure that you stay safe by not looking into the sun directly. If you must, ensure that you use the right welding helmet.