Is a Welding Helmet Safe for Eclipse

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Missing the rare full solar eclipse is probably the last event by nature you would want to miss. Isn’t it? Some rare eclipses occur only around once in every 300-400 years and they are one of the rarest moments that we can see only once in a lifetime.

If next solar eclipse is about to occur, you must be wondering whether watching the solar eclipse safe with a welding helmet safe.

If you want the short answer -Yes you can observe total eclipse with a welding helmet.

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Can You Wear A Welding Helmet To Watch the Eclipse

Can you using your welding helmet to watch the eclipse without damaging your eyes? Yes you can view the eclipse without any harming your eyes with some appropriate welding helmet.

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NASA recommends using welding helmet with a Shade 12 or higher. These welding helmets have filters which get darker enough against most types of welding.

If you don’t know the shade in an old welding helmet, you may not want to use a welding helmet for solar eclipse. Sometimes, even Shade 12 is not enough to look at the sun and Shade 14 makes it too dim.

You may also look for appropriate solar eclipse glasses for safe solar viewing. According to NASA, your eyewear should have ISO 12312-2 safety standard and must be up-to-date.

Don’t use regular sunglasses without this safety standard printed on. Whether temporary or permanently, eyes damage is definitely the last thing you would want to end up with.

However, you may not want to spend so much just for buying special purpose solar filters for an event that usually happens once in a lifetime. Luckily, it’s better to rely on eclipse welding helmet.

Is welding helmet safe for eclipse with shade 12 or higher? Yes, you may see the solar eclipse without any risk. It is especially because you can’t get a special purpose solar eclipse glasses because it easily goes out of stock in most stores.

Stores also raise their prices because of increasing demand. If you have a welding lens to see solar eclipse, why bother fighting for a pair of eclipse glasses. Save yourself stress, time and money just to watch solar eclipse.

But there are some precautions for eclipse viewing

NASA has recommended some precautions on safe solar viewing –

  • Use only the right welding shade for solar eclipse or certified eclipse glasses.
  • Don’t use any safety equipment older than 3 years or more.
  • Don’t use a welding helmet or eclipse glasses having broken or damaged lenses.
  • Homemade filters are a strict no-no. They don’t guarantee you protecting your eyes.
  • Also avoid using ordinary sunglasses for direct viewing. They don’t provide proper protection.

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What if you don’t use proper Eye Protection to Watch Solar Eclipse

Can you go blind staring the sun directly? Well, this is not completely true. It is said because your retina is flooded by UV rays and the exposed tissue can be burned if you look directly at the sun.

They develop free radicals to oxidize nearest tissues. When you look directly at the sun just for a few seconds, you may face this kind of damage.

Even worse, UV rays burn a hole in the tissues and cause serious damage. At the end, it destroys the cone photoreceptors and rod in the retina and it is known as photic or solar retinopathy. It causes scotoma, a blind spot in the core vision.

Since there are no pain receptors in your retina, you won’t feel any pain at the moment. But your eyes might start paining within a few hours or days, you might have blurry vision and you may witness dark or yellow spots.

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Luckily, people get fully recovered who suffer solar retinopathy but it could take around a year or so to heal completely. Sometimes, vision never recovers fully.

They may see spots or blurriness for lifetime. Some of the mild symptoms are watery eyes, eyes soreness, headaches, and light sensitivity.

To know more: Eye Safety During a Total Solar Eclipse 

Here are some of the serious symptoms of solar retinopathy
  • Blurry vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Distorted vision
  • Blind spots
  • Problem in making out shapes
  • Permanent eye damage

These are the last things you might want to suffer just because you didn’t take precautions for safe solar viewing.

Is a Welder’s Helmet Safe for Viewing A Solar Eclipse

Many people have doubts whether eclipse welding helmet can protect their eyes look at the sun for a long time watching this natural phenomenon.

Of course you can. But bear in mind that all welding helmets are not made equally. You should buy only specific welding helmets that are made to protect your eyes.

The shade of 12 is bare minimum for welding helmet. It could be better if you can find the welding helmet with higher level of eclipse auto shades.

You can go with darker filters to prevent intense UV rays and glares. Some people suggest shade 13 as it is neither too bright nor too dark to view the eclipse.

What about viewing Solar Eclipse with Welding Helmet

If you have your grandpa’s welding helmet and not sure about the shade, it’s highly recommended not to wear it, at least for the eclipse. We recommend buying a brand new auto darkening welding helmet that can set the filter levels as per your needs.

Turn down the delay time and raise the sensitivity while using auto darkening types. You can get the good transition when you need higher shade.

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Final Thoughts

Now you know the harmful effects of intense glare from sunlight to your eyes. It is always recommended to use proper eye protection for any activity where you need to face tough glare. Snow blindness and other eye blinding issues can severely damage your eyes.

Remember, there is nothing more important in your life than your eyes. Don’t lose them just for a moment. Facing the harsh UV rays from the sun isn’t a child’s play.

It has a damaging reflective effect that you should be worried about. Of course, you should watch the solar eclipse. But do it with proper safety.