Selecting Your Laser Safety Glasses: A Guide
If you work around lasers you know just how imperative eye safety can be. One of the most important necessities is your go-to laser safety accessory, and it certainly isn’t about style. Laser safety glasses are made for use in many fields, including medical, military, and industrial laser applications, but do not really differentiate themselves from one to the other. The beauty of laser safety glasses is that they are all designed to serve the same crucial function: protecting your eyes from damage caused by high-powered laser light.
Of course, there are lots of laser safety products available and choosing the correct pair is rather a matter of importance. Different lasers function at different levels, emitting unique amounts of radiation that can be affected by the laser’s operating system, wavelength, and power (among other things). There are lots of considerations that will affect which safety glasses you choose so read on for more information. We want to help you ensure that you are always completely protected.
How to Select Your Laser Safety Glasses
The technology of lasers is constantly in a state of flux, changing and advancing as research leads to new improvements. So the first step in selecting a pair of safety glasses is to ensure you are comparing glasses that are updated and meet the highest possible standards. Luckily, Phillips Safety Products, Inc. utilizes the newest laser research and works with leading testing labs all over the world so that their eyewear always meets the standards of the industry. With that being said, here’s a step by step guide detailing how to go about selecting the laser safety glasses that best suit your needs.
1. Know Thy Laser
First and foremost you will need to know as much about your laser’s operating system as possible. Before you make a laser safety glasses purchase you must have a clear understanding of the needs your laser dictates. Collect information about your laser’s specifications, focusing on the operating wavelength, power output, beam diameter and delivery system, as well as the industry you work in. The output and power are typically listed directly on the laser and most other information can be found in the operator’s manual. This data will help you determine which laser glasses will block the appropriate wavelength range at the correct optical density (OD).
If you are unable to determine the operating parameters of your laser, consult with a Certified Laser Safety Officer (CLSO). If you do not have a CLSO on staff feel free to contact Phillips Safety Products, Inc. for a free consultation and OD calculation.
The operating parameters of your laser will determine what wavelengths you’ll want to absorb or block and at what OD. Wavelength refers to the “spatial period” of a wave of light. The waves are measured from crest to crest or valley to valley and are placed on an electromagnetic spectrum (otherwise known as the light spectrum) from shortest to longest. There are certain waves that are not part of the visible spectrum and, in the case of lasers, these ultraviolet waves can be of great danger to our eyes. Thus, determining the wavelength output of your laser will determine what wavelengths you need to block.
Optical density is a little more complex, but it is essentially a ratio that measures the absorbance of particular wavelengths. OD is an important factor because it will determine how effective your safety glasses are at absorbing the wavelengths from which you need protection. Once you understand your wavelength and OD needs the next step is to consider your filter options.
3. Filter Lenses
Phillips Safety Products, Inc. has a wide variety of filter lenses to meet every laser requirement. Lenses are made of either polycarbonate or glass and can be selected by wavelength (measured in nanometers) and OD level. All filters offer excellent visible light transmission, providing the best visual acuity possible.
The polycarbonate lenses are more affordable than the glass, quite lightweight, and impact resistant to boot. These filters offer a variety of wavelength absorption and are typically used for low- to mid-power density laser applications.
Glass lenses are necessary for certain power levels and wavelengths, offering a degree of protection that polycarbonate cannot. These filters have a higher rate of visible light transmission and can achieve higher OD levels with increased thickness.
Should you find yourself in need of an even more specialized pair of glasses, many standard pairs can also be fitted with prescription lenses. Though this is one of the last steps in the ordering process, if this is an important factor for you make sure you are searching for glasses marked “RX-Able”. Adding your prescription to your safety glasses is a fantastic advantage that means you will be able to see properly and your safety glasses can be properly situated on your face, unimpeded by a second pair of spectacles beneath.
5. Frames: The Final Consideration
Typically your frame options are limited to what lens you have chosen, but there are plenty of options nevertheless. As we said, style is hardly taken into consideration where laser safety glasses are concerned, but we do have a wide array of designs. These designs vary in flexibility and adjustability, as well as how much of the outer eye area is covered.
If you have any questions about laser eyewear or need help choosing your perfect par, please contact us. We are more than happy to help and can’t wait to meet all your safety needs.