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Laser eye protection: How to choose for optimal safety

Safety is paramount when using lasers, whether in industrial, scientific, or medical applications. Lasers can cause irreversible damage to the eyes, even at low levels of exposure. That's why laser eye protection is essential to protect the eyes of workers, patients, and anyone exposed to laser radiation.

Laser eye protection is governed by strict standards to ensure effective protection against laser radiation. The European directive for personal protective equipment (no. 89/686/EEC) establishes the minimum requirements for personal protective equipment, including laser eye protection.

PPE -eye-laser

The current European standards for laser eye protection are EN 207 for total eye protection against laser radiation, and EN 208 for protection during laser adjustment work. These standards require taking into account the most critical laser emission values to which personnel are exposed to prevent the most frequent accidents or incidents.

It's important to note that laser eye protection must safely withstand the laser flux for which they have been selected. The protections must be capable of withstanding for a period of 5 seconds in continuous mode or 50 pulses in pulsed mode. And, laser eye protection must bear the CE marking.

Laser eye protection is also classified according to its protective capacity. Laser protection filters are classified from LB1 to LB10, depending on their ability to filter laser light according to wavelength. The frames of eye protection are also classified according to their ability to protect against impacts.

To choose the right laser eye protection, it's important to consider the laser power used with the maximum allowed exposure levels. Protection filters and frames must be selected according to the laser power, as well as the operating mode (continuous or pulse) and the wavelength of the beam.

It's also important to ensure that laser eye protection is comfortable to wear for workers or patients. Eye protection must be properly adjusted to ensure optimal protection.

Finally, it's important to note that laser eye protection must be regularly inspected and replaced if necessary. Any damage or alteration of the frame or filter can compromise the effectiveness of the protection and increase the risk of eye injury.

In conclusion, laser eye protection is a key element of safety, and it's essential to understand laser classes and the corresponding safety standards to select appropriate protection. The European standards EN 207 and EN 208 provide clear guidelines for the selection and use of laser eye protection. It's the employer's responsibility to ensure that employees are protected against the risks of laser-related eye injuries. By taking appropriate measures, workers can be protected from the dangers of lasers and work safely.


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