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Welding with Contact Lenses| Debunking Myths

Welding with contact lenses has become increasingly popular among welders who need vision correction. 

Welding can be a rewarding and lucrative career path, but it comes with inherent dangers that require proper safety equipment. 

Eye safety is one of the most critical aspects of welding safety since the bright light produced by welding arc flashes can cause significant damage to the eyes. While there are several effective ways to protect your eyes while welding from normal prescription corrective lenses to dedicated prescription safety glasses.

The question on many people’s minds is whether it is safe and practical to wear contact lenses during welding. In this article, we will explore the potential risks and benefits of wearing contacts while welding, as well as some essential safety precautions to minimize any potential harm to your eyesight for contact lenses wearers

Explanation of How Contact Lenses Work

Contact lenses rest directly on the cornea, making it possible for people with vision issues to see clearly without the need for eyeglasses. These small, thin lenses are made from a variety of materials and come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate a variety of eye shapes and vision needs. Contact lenses work by refracting light as it enters the eye, compensating for irregularities in the shape or curvature of the cornea or lens.

Discussion on Potential Risks of Wearing Contacts While Welding

While contact lenses are safe for most daily activities, some risks arise when using them while welding.

The intense heat and sparks generated during welding can’t cause contact lenses to melt, warp, or stick to the surface of the eye.

In fact, one welder suffered a UV-related flash burn while in a stainless steel tank and every part of his eye was suffering from blistering apart from the retina that was covered by the contact lens.

In addition, ultraviolet radiation emitted during welding can damage delicate tissues in the eyes and may lead to long-term vision problems such as cataracts.

It is important to note that these risks do not just apply to those wearing contact lenses while welding or also to those who wear prescription glasses. In fact, prescription glasses can be even more problematic than contacts as they can shatter when exposed to flying debris created by welding if they aren’t wearing safety glasses over them or a face shield.

welding with contact lenses
Girl changes the lenses to improve vision

Overview of Safety Precautions for Contact Lens Wearers Who Weld

To avoid potential injury, safety experts recommend that contact lens wearers take several precautions before attempting any kind of welding task: 

  • consider wearing protective goggles over your contacts.
  • Use dual protection like a face shield in addition to the safety glasses.
  • use disposable contact lenses.
  • Use welding curtains to minimize arc flash risk from co-workers.

– Use a properly fitted helmet with shaded glass visors that protect your eyes from UV radiation. – Always use proper ventilation systems when working in areas with fumes or dust.

By following these safety precautions, in addition to your administrative controls in the work environmentcontact lens wearers who weld can safely protect their eyes and enjoy the benefits of clear vision without risking injury or discomfort.

If you are unable to wear contact lenses, prescription safety glasses are an alternative option that provides similar protection while welding.

Importance of Proper Eye Protection

When it comes to welding, proper eye protection is essential for both contact lens wearers and non-wearers. Welding produces a significant amount of heat, sparks, and UV radiation that can cause serious eye injuries. Therefore, it is recommended that all welders wear a welding helmet or mask with appropriate filters to protect their face, neck, and eyes from these hazards.

In addition to helmets or masks, it is also necessary to wear safety glasses under the helmet or mask as an added layer of protection.

Tips for Avoiding Contact Lens Damage During Welding

Here are some tips on how contact lens wearers can protect their eyes while welding.

Keep your eyes closed while welding whenever possible. 

Weld in an area with adequate ventilation to prevent welding fumes from irritating the eyes.

Use a welding helmet with a Powered Air Respirator PAPR and fume hood.

Use a protective shield for an extra layer of protection when grinding.

Avoid rubbing your eyes as they may contain dust particles that could scratch or irritate them.  

Welding with Prescription Glasses

Prescription safety glasses are an excellent alternative for those who cannot wear contacts while welding. These glasses can be tailored to an individual’s specific prescription needs and provide the same level of protection as standard safety glasses.

In addition, prescription safety eyewear is designed to fit under welding helmets or masks, so there’s no need to worry about them impeding your vision. Welding with prescription glasses is a great choice for anyone who prefers not to wear contact lenses while working or those who do not have the option of using them due to eye conditions.

Common Myths and Misconceptions about Welding with Contacts

There are many myths and misconceptions when it comes to wearing contact lenses while welding. One of the most common myths is that contact lenses can melt onto the eye during the welding process. This is not true, while contact lenses can become stuck to the eye, they will not melt onto it. This is not from welding either.

In fact, most modern contact lenses are made from materials that have a higher melting point than the human eye. Another myth is that wearing contacts while welding increases the risk of eye injury.

While it’s true that there are risks associated with welding, such as exposure to UV radiation and flying debris, wearing contacts does not increase this risk. However, contact lens wearers should still take proper safety precautions when welding (such as wearing an auto-darkening welding helmet and safety glasses), just like those who wear prescription glasses or do not require any corrective eyewear.

Contact lens best practices

The Benefits of Wearing Contacts While Welding

While some people may choose to wear prescription safety glasses while welding, others prefer to wear their contacts for a variety of reasons. One benefit of wearing contacts is improved peripheral vision; unlike glasses which have frames that can obstruct vision, contacts allow for an unobstructed view of your surroundings.

Additionally, those who wear contacts may find them more comfortable than having to wear additional protective eyewear on top of prescription glasses. This can make a big difference during long periods of time spent working on a project.

Contact lens wearers will have no dramas wearing welding goggles when gas welding or oxy-cutting.

Just be aware that regular sunglasses aren’t the proper shade to block out infrared radiation. Prolonged exposure to this will lead to permanent eye damage. It might not be a bright light but infrared damages the eyes via optical radiation.

Overall, whether you choose to weld with prescription glasses or contacts, it’s important to prioritize safety first. Always follow proper safety guidelines and take the necessary precautions to protect your eyes from potential hazards in your work environment.

Recap of Key Points

In this article, we have explored the question of whether or not it is safe to weld with contact lenses. We started by discussing how contact lenses work and the potential risks associated with wearing them while welding. We then moved on to explore the safety precautions that contact lens wearers can take when they are welding, including tips for avoiding damage to their lenses and alternative options for those who cannot wear contacts while welding.

We also debunked some common myths and misconceptions about welding with contacts, such as the belief that contacts can melt onto the eye or cause an increased risk of eye injury. In reality, when proper safety precautions are taken, wearing contacts while welding can be a safe and beneficial option that provides improved peripheral vision compared to wearing glasses.

Final Thoughts on Whether or Not Welding with Contact Lenses Is Right For You

So, can you do MIG or stick welding with contact lenses? The answer is yes – but only if you take proper precautions and use appropriate eye protection. It is important to wear a welding helmet or other protective gear over your eyes at all times while welding, regardless of whether you are wearing contacts or prescription glasses.

Additionally, if you experience any discomfort or irritation in your eyes while wearing contacts during welding, it is important to remove them immediately and seek medical attention if necessary. Overall, when done safely and responsibly, it is possible to weld effectively while wearing contact lenses.

However, some individuals may find that prescription safety glasses are a more comfortable and practical option for their individual needs. Regardless of which option you choose – contacts or glasses – always prioritize safety first when working with hot metals and materials in a workshop environment.

Photo of author


Kieran Proven

Kieran has been welding since the age of 11, taught by his father. He loved it as soon as he struck his first arc. At the age of 20, he has been a first-class welder coded from ASME IX to high-end pharmaceutical work. The founder of Welding Empire his goal is to help anyone wanting to further their knowledge in welding. From this website to his YouTube channel.