Eyes wide shut?

Date:1 June 2012 Tags:,

Q I’m trying my hand at arc welding, and I’m not inclined to spend big bucks on one of those auto-darkening helmets. Can I use a pair of good sunglasses, or is this a false economy?

A Economy has nothing to do with it; you’d be risking permanent damage to your eyesight with even a brief exposure. Arc welders produce the full spectrum of ultraviolet radiation, and that’s very bad news for unprotected eyes (and exposed skin, for that matter). You can buy a basic flip-up helmet for less than R100, or spend a bit more (probably R350 and up) on the auto-darkening type; just do it. Sunglasses? No, a thousand times no.

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