Since our childhood, we have often been told not to look at the sun directly as it can lead to blindness. Looking at the sun directly without using any necessary precautions can damage your eyes. Therefore, to avoid this we use hats, caps, umbrellas, sunglasses, etc. However all these aids are not safe to gaze at the sun directly. So the question arises can you look at the sun with a welding helmet?
What if someone wants to look at the sun directly? Is there any equipment to gaze at the sun directly without getting blind? The answer to all these questions is Yes you can look at the sun with the use of a welding helmet. However, there are only certain helmets that ensure sufficient eye protection.
In this article you will know if it is safe to use a welding mask to look at the sun or eclipse, how certain welding helmets are designed to allow sun gazing and what happens to your eyes when you look at the sun directly.
Welding Helmet Lens Shade
These lens shades corresponding to their numbers filter out the harmful ultraviolet and infrared rays from reaching your eyes. Welder’s usually use lens shades between 10-13. The lowest shade to be used is 2 which is the worst one and can lead to eye damage.
The higher the shade i.e 14, the better it will be able to filter out all harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiations.
Auto-Darkening Welding Helmet
Auto-darkening helmets containing LCD electronic shutter to adjust the light automatically have been in use since 1981. They were designed to make the welding process easier and safer.
Indeed auto-darkening helmets are no less than a blessing for welders. These helmets eliminate the need to adjust them manually which in turn saves the welder’s time. Its auto-darkening mode adjusts itself according to the varying level of brightness.
- We can use auto-darkening helmets to see the sun directly but it is important to know that not all these helmets have their range up to shade 12.
- These helmets have their darkening limits and are being labeled according to their strength. Not all auto-darkening helmets darken up to shade 14.
To keep your eyes safe you must know how to use and set them. There are sensitivity and delay settings that are responsible for the quicker darkening response. This quicker response will allow less exposure to harmful radiations. Always remember to keep the sensitivity up and delay down.
Can you look at the eclipse with a welding mask?
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes in between the Earth and the Sun while casting a shadow on parts of the earth and blocking the sunlight fully or partially. It is a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event.
Solar eclipses are not safe to look at especially without the use of any precautionary equipment. Ordinary sunglasses and even the darker shades of lenses will not offer suffice protection.
Although solar eclipses are dim that does not mean they are not harmful to your eyes. There is still a risk of getting your eyes damaged by invisible rays.
If you are going to be a part of the solar eclipse party, you need to buy adequate safety equipment for that i.e solar eclipse glasses which look like 3D glasses or welding helmets.
Due to the rarity of this event, you might not be able to get your hands on authentic solar eclipse glasses as they run out of stock so quickly, in that case, you can safely rely on welding helmets.
What happens if you stare at the sun directly?
Just like your skin, your eyes also have the potential to get sunburned. The ultraviolet rays being emitted by the sun can cause significant damage to your eyes.
There are 3 types of ultraviolet rays UVA, UVB, UVC.
UVC– fully blocked by the ozone layer but due to depletion of the ozone layer we are still exposed to them to some extent.
UVB – partially blocked by the ozone layer, most harmful rays to your skin and eyes, responsible for suntan, longer exposure may be hazardous.
UVA– weaker rays but can be responsible for macular degeneration and cataracts