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The Ultimate Guide To Selecting Laser Safety Glasses

With the wide application of laser technology, such as industry laser, aesthetic medical laser, military laser, and other field, most lasers belong to the Class 3B or Class 4 laser system. According to ANSI Z136, one should wear protective goggles when the power reaches 500mW, so as to avoid the hazards emitted by the high-power laser.
The laser safety glasses specific to Europe are the standard CE EN207 and CE EN208, and to the US the standard ANSI Z136. When determining the proper protective goggles, you should ask the provider for a certificate for basic protection.
The following questions are important when selecting protective glasses.
  1. Why do we need to wear laser safety glasses when working?
When working in the laser industry, a single wavelength will be emitted, and sometimes several wavelengths of radiation will radiate. Part of these wavelengths are visible light, but others are invisible (e.g., ultraviolet light, infrared light). Invisible light does not mean that our eyes will not hurt. Ultraviolet light (100-400nm) will damage the cornea, and laser light (400-1400nm) will penetrate our lens to damage the retina, causing irreversible ocular injury. Above 1400mm is relatively safe, but when working in high-power laser environments, such as with fiber lasers or CO2 lasers, our eyes will be damaged.
Due to the focusing characteristics of the eye, it is 100,000 times more sensitive to laser effects than the skin. Prolonged exposure to the laser radiation will hurt our eyes over time, even causing blindness. The laser filter plays a very important role in protecting the eye from specific wavelengths, and may completely block or reduce the laser radiation to below the MPE (Maximum Possible Effect) level.
  1. What are the different types of laser safety glasses?
There are two types of laser protection filter technology: reflection and absorption. The reflective filter has a coated film, and absorption is divided into glass and polycarbonate.
  • The reflection is a coat with a thin film that allows specific wavelengths to bounce in different directions and reflect through a broad scattering pattern. The price of these glasses is usually not expensive, and once the coating is detached or damaged, it will hurt our eyes immediately. This type of laser safety glasses is typically not recommended.
  • The glass absorbing filter has a highly visible light transmittance, which to a great extent is in its excellent original color balance. At the same time, it can absorb higher heat density and better thermal stability, leading to a higher level of optical density. Increasing the thickness can also enhance the protection level. Disadvantages are that it’s very heavy and may not be comfortable to wear for a long period, and the cost is often steep.
  • The polycarbonate absorption filter is the most widely used and cost-effective. It is made with an absorbent laser dye, is safe to wear for a long period without discomfort, and has superior shock resistance. With the improved technology of LaserPair, we offer these laser safety glasses with a high protection level that guards against various wavelengths all at once, lending themselves to superior visible light transmittance and excellent vision.
 
  1. How can I find the right laser safety glasses for me?
When choosing the proper goggles for your specific application, it is also important to consider the aspects of wavelength, power, beam diameter, beam delivery system and operating environment. Please refer to the laser's parameters or user manual, and a certified LSO (Laser Safety Officer) can advise as to which level of laser safety glasses you should wear. If you need further help selecting the proper laser safety glasses, you are welcome to contact us, and our laser experts will provide the best solution, according to your unique needs.
  • VLT (Visible Light Transmittance)
In visible light, the attenuation of light by a filter is defined as visible light transmittance. According to the American National Standards Organization (ANSI) Z136.7, the testing of VLT is determined by a standard light source. It is important to pay attention to the lighting conditions when using laser safety glasses. If VLT is less than 20%, users should remain in a light area and ensure their working environment has extra illumination. The higher the transmittance, the better the visual view. NOTE: VLT is the average transmittance of visible light in the entire visible spectrum.
  • Choose the relevant wavelength
ANSI Z136.1 requires that the protection wavelength and optical density (OD) value are indicated on the laser protection glasses. Generally, manufacturers will print the most common range of wavelengths and OD (a small number of users are using wavelengths not listed on the glasses). For further details, please consult with the manufacturer for the most suitable glasses.
  • Choose a high OD protection level
OD laser filters were designed to reduce specific wavelengths into the eyes while allowing some normal light to pass through the eye. This absorption or filtering capability of the lens is expressed via OD, which is the attenuation of light through the optical filter. The higher the value of OD, the higher the attenuation, with each unit representing a 10 times greater improvement in protection.
Rating Transmittance Light transmittance reduction
OD 1 10-1 10x
OD 2 10-2 100x
OD 3 10-3 1000x
OD 4 10-4 10,000x
OD 5 10-5 100,000x
OD 6 10-6 1,000,000x
OD 7 10-7 10,000,000x
OD 8 10-8 100,000,000x
 
  • Choose a comfortable frame
Selecting a frame in terms of its weight, shape and size to meet your individual needs is extremely important in the ultimate choice of laser safety glasses. Many of our goggles are designed to offer a universal fit and some models are geared toward prescription glasses. One size does not fit all, but adding a specific rope on the backside or opting for an adjustable frame can fix this problem. We consider the user’s individual needs and provide comfortable eyewear with a fashionable design that can be worn for a long stretch of time.
  1. How can I recognize the parameters of my laser safety glasses?
Here is a helpful example:
The right lens shows: 740-1100nm OD5+ 780-1070nm OD7+
American Standard: In the range of 740-1100nm, the light transmission from the laser source is reduced by 100,000 times (spectral transmittance 10-5), while in the range of 780-1070nm, the light transmission from the laser source is reduced by 10,000,000 times (spectral transmittance 10-7).
The left lens shows: 740-1100nm DIR LB5 800-1070nm IR LB7 LP S CE
740-1100nm: Protects wavelength
LP: manufacturer code; D: Continuous-wave laser; I R Pulse laser
S: Mechanical resistance symbol
CE: Conformity to the directive
740-1100nm DIR LB5: EN 207 protection level for D (Continuous wave), I (Pulsed laser) and R (Q-switched pulsed laser) at 740-1100nm
Europe Standard: The LB-Rating not only has an outer diameter, but also laser stability. LB1 to LB10 indicates that the lens can withstand a power density or energy density of at least five (5) seconds or 50 pulses of laser radiation. It makes sense when the wavelength is combined with the laser mode (D, I, R or M).
 
Letter Laser Type Pulsed Length(s)
D Continuous wave laser 5s
I Pulsed laser >10-6 to 0.25
R Giant pulsed laser >10-9 to 10-6
M Mode-locked pulsed laser <10-9
 
5)      What should I be paying attention to after finding my suitable laser safety glasses? 
  • The laser safety glasses cannot be used against other wavelengths of lasers other than those mentioned above.
  • Do not look directly into the laser beam.
  • Please clean and disinfect the glasses with soapy water or Johnson Glass Cleaner, etc.
  • Do not place or store the glasses under sunlight or a high-temperature environment.
  • If these eye-protectors and filters against laser radiation are damaged, have scratched oculars or have undergone a color change, they can no longer be used.
  • Please note the risk of exposure to laser radiation due to reflection from reflective parts (including eye protectors), tilting or misalignment of optical components.
  • In areas where there is a risk of exposure to laser radiation, appropriate eye protection should always be worn.
  • We recommend a lifetime of three (3) years when using the glasses regularly. This also depends on various factors such as use, cleaning storage and maintenance. Frequent inspections and replacement are recommended if glasses are damaged.
 
Last but not least, when you spend a lot of time selecting laser safety glasses, the cost is quite important, but also remember about the cost of your eyes. LaserPair commits to prioritizing protective, cost-effective laser safety glasses that protect our eyes from harmful reflections or scattering of high-power laser radiation, and providing customized services. If you need help in selecting laser protective goggles, please contact us via email, or call us directly.

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