View Full Version : Eye protection from looking into forge.

Bob Warner
10-16-2001, 08:48 AM
While at my eye doctor's appointment the other day, I showed him a picture of my forge at welding temp and told him I was concerned about damaging my eyes when forging and especially when welding. Being a diabetic already has me worried about my eyesite and now the forge is adding to it. I explained that the fire can get really hot and that the brightness leaves you seeing spots if you don't wear anything at all. I asked him what I should wear when forging and welding and told him I've heard of dididium glasses but have heard mixed feedback on their usefulness. I told him I currently wear dark sunglasses.

He told me he has never heard of dididium glasses and all that I needed to wear was dark sunglasses with 100% UV protection and it would be even better if they were polarized. I looked at this type of glasses at Walmart and other stores and they run about $20-$30.

What do you people wear and why?
What has your doctor told you?
Where did you learn that what you are doing is acceptable?
Does anyone disagree with my eye doctor, and why?
Is it the same for a coal or charcoal forge as for a gas forge?

Tom Ferry
10-16-2001, 09:51 AM
Hi Bob well I personally wear didymium lenses and never see spots or have had any problems. I also consulted my eye doctor and he had never heard of them. They only need to be worn while working a gas forge from my understanding because the linings such as kaowool put off the uv. It is my understanding that Kaowool liners and such also put off Infra-red rays which the dark lense glasses dont protect you against them. Didymium lenses protect against sodium flair, UV rays and Infra-red rays. I do know after wearing them for the past 4 yrs and having my eyes checked last year there was no sign of damage from the harmful rays so they must work.

J Loose
10-16-2001, 10:09 AM
I'm going to second the didymium glasses. They also have the added benefit of not being 'dark,' so when you look away from the forge you can see what you are doing. I hardly take them off all day. The ones available from Centaur Forge also have side screens.

This is very important: Wearing dark glasses that only protect you from UV are going to dialate your pupils and allow -MORE- IR in to damage your eyes.

Doctors who are not trained in occupational hazards are often VERY ill-informed when it comes to such issues.

10-17-2001, 09:06 PM
We wear #5's for welding in the forge and #10 for welding with a stick.

Safety first.

J Loose
10-19-2001, 11:11 AM
I just caught the list of questions at the end of your post... oops, busy me... I thought it was a signature...

1) What has your doctor told you?

Only eye doctor I've been to lately also hadn't heard of didymium. Didn't know that forges give off IR either...

2) Where did you learn that what you are doing is acceptable?

This is the real reason I'm posting again: 'Health Hazards Manual for Artists', Michael McCann, 1985; Nick Lyons Books, NYC. You can also start at ( and go through the links, search, and research. Unfortunately I've found that when it comes to occupational health and safety you're on your own. When you're a large corporation that isn't so bad... when you're self-employed or part-time it means a lot more work.

3) Does anyone disagree with my eye doctor, and why?

As I said, IR is the real culprit here. Glassblowers spend their time looking into the furnace and get 'glassblower's cataracts,' from the IR. That is why many of them now wear the didymium. Glasses that are dark and have no IR protection are -worse- since they dialate your eyes.

I believe some welding glasses are IR rated... best to check the MSDS ( Manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet ) or contact the manufacturer.

4) Is it the same for a coal or charcoal forge as for a gas forge?

I'd suspect it's a little worse in a gas forge since you can look right at the refractory, which is what emits the UV / IR whereas in a coal forge there is coal / coke covering some of the most intense burning material. Just a guess.

Good Luck!

J Loose
10-23-2001, 10:51 AM
I just came across some info about gold-coated didymium lenses in SRJ's forum from Shyningnight and at: (

I'm going to follow this up with more research after the NYC show as my curiosity is now piqued. I'll post it here and on my site.

Anyone else please jump in though.

Bob Warner
10-23-2001, 01:51 PM
Thanks Jonothan,

I am asking other eye doctor's in my area and also asking them their experience with this type of work. So far they are uneducated in this area.