Laser Safety Goggles Q & A
Can eye and eye area damage be avoided by the use of laser safety goggles?
Yes providing the laser safety goggles or glasses that are worn are correctly selected based on the laser system in use. Laser safety goggles or glasses can be selected either by the wavelength of the system where they will be in use or through the specific type of laser used. Since goggles cover both the areas around the eyes as well as the eyes themselves they do provide maximum coverage and protection. They are more comprehensive in their protection that laser safety glasses even with side shields.
Laser safety goggles are a good option when used with Class 4 lasers or some Class 3 lasers since they provide very complete protection to all areas of the eye and around the eye. They are also a good option when there is the possibility of splashes or contamination by liquids when radiation is also in use. Goggles may be more comfortable for people that wear prescription glasses, especially if the goggles are specially designed just for this factor. Many people simply prefer goggles because they are very easy to adjust to any head size with a simple loosening or tightening of an elastic strap that goes around the back of the head.
I need to wear prescription eyeglasses or contacts, how does that work with laser safety goggles?
Laser safety goggles tend to have a much larger lens area that extends beyond where a traditional laser safety glass lens would sit on the face. This allows space for prescription eyewear under the goggles while still providing the maximum amount of protection of the eye itself as well as the delicate skin surrounding the eye. Contact wearers are more fortunate in that they can wear either goggles or laser safety glasses without any discomfort. Therefore, prescription eyeglasses can be effectively worn with laser safety goggles. Keep in mind that the lens on laser safety goggles or glasses can be customized to a prescription lens if so desired with most prescriptions and with most styles of safety eyewear.
What is Optical Density and why does it matter with laser safety goggles?
Optical density or OD is a measurement of the attenuation or reduction of the light entering your eyes from a particular wavelength. Each particular waveband or wavelength of a laser is different so the OD or reduction factor to make the light safe for your eyes will be different. In general OD is a number which indicates a factor of 10. Therefore an OD2 would indicate that the lens is safe for use with a specific laser because it reduces the wavelength hitting the eye by a factor of 100 or 10 times 10. If you do not use the laser safety goggles or glasses designed for a specific laser emission you will not provide the attenuation or reduction in the light wave to protect your eyes from damage.