From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Terry Chan)
Subject: Re: Welding contact lenses [The Answer]
Date: 9 May 1993 01:22:01 GMT
Organization: Department of Redundancy Department
References: <1993May7.email@example.com> <1993May7.192040.29281@pasteur.Berkeley.EDU>
ab961@Freenet.carleton.ca (Robert Allison) writes:
+>I picked up my car from the garage the other day, and heard what may be a
+>UL. It was stated that the mechanic wore glasses and not contact lenses
+>because of the risk of eye damage. A person wearing contact lenses could
+>get the lens fused to the eyeball by looking at the light from a welding
+>No mention was made of the kind of welding, but I have a recollection of
+>hearing years ago that the risk was with electric arc welding. I remember
+>thinking at the time that it was an electrical risk, not merely from the
+>light of the arc, but on thinking about it, neither makes sense.
+>Anyone have some facts about contact lenses and welding?
peterm@cory.Berkeley.EDU (Peter Mardahl) writes:
+ I'm no expert, but I have heard that welding torches are hot enough
^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Uh, oh.
+that they produce a fair bit of ultraviolet light, as well as being
+very brilliant. Maybe this is an urban legend, that welding torches
+ Anyway, I was told that this was the reason that welders wore
+dark glasses: both to protect against the brilliance, and to
+protect their eyes from damage from ultraviolet light.
+ Ultraviolet is apparently very bad for your retina. Imagine
+a sunburn on the inside of your eyeballs.
+ Regarding contact lenses, what I've heard is that the intense
+light can drive off the water underneath the lens, causing it
+to become glued to the eyeball. I've no direct experience with
+anyone who has had this happen to them or to a friend....
Well, this is one of those FAQs that I always say I'll put in the
FAQ list but keep forgetting to. In short, this story is an old UL.
This story dates at least back to 1983, when safety directors at
various industrial plants began to circulate memos warning of such
a serious injury. I won't enter the details except that the
ominous line in the memo was where the welders return home to remove
their contact lenses and "_AND_THE_ CORNEA_OF_THE_EYE_WAS_REMOVED_
along with the lenses." Heh heh. Pretty good huh? Anyway, if you
see a copy of the original memo, you'll see that the original writer
was probably named B1FF.
This is well documented in JHB's _The Choking Doberman_. Further,
in _The Mexican Pet_, JHB notes "Reports that radiation from electric
arcs or sparks can cause contact lenses to fuse to the eye are false,
says the American Academy of Opthalomology." They concluded that this
story arose out of two reports, one where a guy was blinded and another
that was "bogus." Anyway, if you want the details, you can follow-up
in those books.
Terry "I can SEEEEE!" Chan
Energy and Environment Division | Internet: TWChan@lbl.gov
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory | "Perfect teeth, nice smell,
Berkeley, California USA 94720 | ...a class act all the way."