It is quite natural for welders to worry about their health. So, whenever the topic of welding arises, our first concern is our eyes. To be more specific, the discussion is always around about the long-term effects of welding on the eyes, if any.
So, is welding terrible for your eyes? In a word, yes! 25% of all welding injuries are eye-related. Welding arcs give off radiation over a broad range of wavelengths. Flying metal sparks, fumes, IR, and UV radiation caused by weldings are harmful to your eyes. These may even damage your eyes permanently.
We know that even the thought of losing your eyes terrifies most of you. But this is preventable. Most of the welders sustaining eye injuries get back to work within a week to put it straight. So, by knowing and following the safety measures, you can easily protect your eyes from injuries. As you read ahead, you will find various relevant points and safety guides related to welding.
Table of Contents
- 1 Types of radiation associated with welding and their effects
- 2 How to protect your eyes when welding
- 3 How to Treat Welder’s Flash
- 3.1 1. Panicking is not a solution
- 3.2 2. Follow the prescription
- 3.3 3. Try home remedies
- 4 Conclusion
Types of radiation associated with welding and their effects
Welding mostly produces the ultraviolet, visible spectrum, and infrared radiation. All these can seriously damage your eyes. However, the ultraviolet rays (UVR), in particular, are the most likely to cause these problems. UV-radiation is divided into three ranges. These are UV-A (ranging between 315 to 400 nm), UV-B (ranging between 280 to 315 nm), and UV-C (ranging between 100 to 280 nm). The cornea of the eyes absorbs UV-C and almost all UV-B rays.
Considering reflected light can also carry radiation, your eyes can get damaged from the arcs of other welders, too. In particular, ultraviolet radiation (UVR) gets absorbed in the lens and cornea and leads to swollen, painful eyes. Fortunately, this is rarely permanent.
This sort of eye damage is called Photokeratitis or Welder’s Flash. Photokeratitis is painful. But thankfully, not permanent. Just as sunburn can hurt our skin, prolonged exposure to this type of radiation can yellow both the lenses and corneas over time. Although the short-time effects of UV eye damage may diminish, the cumulative UV exposure will make you struggle with contrast in your vision.
Symptoms of Welder’s Flash
Welder’s Flash can be painful. Its symptoms may include irritation of the eyes, increased sensitivity, watering eyes, blurred vision, bloodshot eyes, etc.
If you are a welder and experience these symptoms, make sure to visit a doctor. If left untreated, you can suffer permanent retinal damage leading to cataracts. These are the most common causes of vision loss, mostly in people over 40. A cataract is characterized as the progressive clouding of the lenses of the eyes. But cataracts are also preventable by following safety measures and taking necessary actions against them.
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How to protect your eyes when welding
No one would like to go blind forever, not to mention the pain that the process would cause. So, even though Photokeratitis or Welder’s Flash is reversible damage, one should always take necessary precautions against welding effects on the eyes.
The best way to save your eyes from these harmful rays is by wearing a welding helmet. When you are using a helmet, ensure that it is ANSI Z87.1 certified. These helmets feature auto-dimming, which automatically darkens the visor as the helmet detects the bright flash of arc welding. Therefore, they are convenient and a must-buy for any welder.
However, wearing just an auto-dimming helmet is not enough to protect your eyes from impending dangers. So, make sure you also get safety glasses with full UV protection. Your choice is between explicit and shaded glasses, depending on what makes you feel most comfortable.
How to Treat Welder’s Flash
Precaution is always better than cure. Consider taking all the precautions to avoid Welder’s Flash. But if you have got it, don’t panic. As we said before, Photokeratitis or Welder’s Flash is a treatable issue until it becomes more severe. For that, you must follow this advice:
1. Panicking is not a solution
The first thing that Photokeratitis patients do is panic. But panicking is not going to solve anything. Do not stress your eyes. If you develop any symptoms of Welder’s Flash, go and see a doctor. He might give you some medicines and eye drops to cure your issue.
2. Follow the prescription
Now, do not stop taking the medicines until you are cured. It may restrict the progress, and you may end up not getting better. The doctor would mostly prescribe you an eyedrop. Eyedrops lubricate your eyes, which in turn reduces the pain and inflammation. Keep taking other medicines, too(if your doctor prescribes you anything).
3. Try home remedies
There is always a home remedy for these diseases. The best remedy is to use teabags. If you do not like taking eyedrops, you may prefer using tea bags instead. One of the primary reasons for choosing them is also because of their low cost.
For the tea bag remedy, you would need a bag of black or green tea. After you’ve got one, lay down and apply the tea bags to your eyes, just as if you are dealing with cucumbers. The nutrients in the tea will soothe your eyes, relaxing the muscles. Do this every day for one week before going to bed. You will see the difference in pain within 1-2 days.
For a welder, welding is more than just a job, it is a passion. Knowing the risks of welding is equally necessary as learning how to weld. Even though Welder’s Flash is an occupational hazard, you would never want to experience it. Every year, thousands of people are not just wounded at work but blinded as well. Even sadder than that, 90% of all eye injuries are preventable by wearing the proper eye protection.
Do not hurry while you weld. Gather all your protection before starting the job. Your life is precious, for you and your family. So, there is no point in risking it. That said, you must check out the welding tools that are necessary for welding by clicking the link.