Is it safe to look at the eclipse with a welding mask?

The solar eclipse is an incredible and rare phenomenon. Getting a glimpse of an eclipse is priceless, but looking directly at the eclipse with unaided eyes or without protection can cause permanent eye damage. To view a solar eclipse safely, you’ll need to use glasses specially made for viewing the eclipse.

But what if you don’t have solar eclipse glasses or can’t get a pair from an authorized source in time? Can you look at the sun with a welding helmet? Yes. You can use a welding mask as an alternative, provided that it has the acceptable shade.

The recommended solar eclipse welding mask is shade 14. Anything less than shade 14 will not offer adequate protection and might put your eyes at risk. However, if your welding mask has a shade rating of 12 and 13, you may still be able to view the eclipse safely, but shade 14 is considered the safest shade for solar eclipses.

Why is it important to protect your eyes against eclipse?

Eye injuries from sun exposure are not an uncommon thing. Staring at the sun or something too bright is hard harmful to the eyes, so you can imagine the damage that can occur when staring at an eclipse. And just because you don’t feel the effect immediately doesn’t mean you’re not at risk of permanent eye damage.

The effects may take time before they begin to show up, but the damage can be irreversible once they appear. Even with short-term exposure, it is almost impossible to avoid long-term and permanent eye damage.

If you’re lucky enough, the sensation and discomfort that comes with staring at the eclipse for too long might disappear in a few hours, but for those who aren’t so lucky, it may permanently damage their eyes.

While you may be tempted to use typical sunglasses, they are less suited for the task. Sunglasses don’t feature materials that can fully protect you from harmful UV rays, as is the case with solar eclipse glasses. Solar eclipse glasses are specially designed to block UV rays, and that’s why it is crucial to protect yourself with the right equipment.

How will a welding helmet work for the eclipse?

As mentioned, the unavailability or lack of special solar eclipse glasses does not mean that you have to miss out on the event. Using welding helmet to view the eclipse is a great way to protect your eyes against irreversible eye damage from eclipse and other solar events. However, it is only recommended to view the sun when totally eclipsed, even if you are using a shade 14 mask.

When the sun is partially eclipsed, the welding mask may not offer sufficient protection. It is also a good idea to avoid staring for long when using a welding mask. Only solar filters that meet safety standards are fitted to view total eclipses or watching the eclipse for an extended time.

Welding mask shade 14 is designed for a heavy-duty welding environment, so it is pretty dark, making it ideal for viewing the sun and eclipses.

And that’s not even the best part.

A welding helmet offers comprehensive coverage, ensuring that the area around your eyes is sufficiently protected. This minimizes the likelihood of the indirect rays from damaging your eyes and skin, especially when looking above your lens.

You can also use a half facepiece, but you may want to ensure that the lens is wide enough to cover your eyes completely. All in all, experts recommend using glasses that are specially designed to protect your eyes during solar evens, but if you’re out of options, welding helmets are good alternatives.

Parting shot!

If you’ve been wondering if you can look at the eclipse with a welding mask, there you have it. You can definitely use a welding helmet to look at the eclipse, but under very limited circumstances. For one thing, you’ll need to ensure that the helmet is fitted with the correct shade of darkening. If you aren’t sure about the degree of darkness, it is best to avoid the mask altogether. Always go for specific solar eclipse glasses or specific welding masks that offer adequate protection to your eyes.

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