Welding, eyes and sight

Welding Techniques, Theory, Machines and Questions.

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BClemens
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Welding, eyes and sight

Post by BClemens » Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:47 pm

I've welded all my life - not as a career but as a portion of that persuit. I've stick, MIG and TIG welded for all this time and now realize that my eyesight is darn poor. I own my own welding equipment in my shop to weld now and then and find that it gets tougher as time goes on. I have protectcted my eyes....but once in a while you will get an arc flash - it's the risk with welding and imminent - it's going to happen.

Here's what I wish to relate: The shielding for welding is deceiving in that the perception of clear vision can mistakenly make one think that the shielding is too intense when actually the opposite is true. Don't get cought in that because eye damage is the result at a greatly increasing rate. That will be a situation that feeds itself - your eyes are dumb sensors and will not warn you or your brain.

I have a chart - and this works. I recently purchased a auto darkening welding helmet and found that I could not see what I was doing. It has a large window but although I have all that open visibility - I need cheater lenses and a dark (high) setting to weld.

Please be warned; sight cannot be repaired from light intensity damage - or along with old age when you realize what you have done to your eyes. 'Feel' is only good in the dark so either have a good memory or protect your eyes...Protect them!

BTW: I now weld full time - but with an Electron Beam Welder which is basically a CNC welder in a vacuum chamber. The arc is gone with this welding but the light intensity is still there when welding a metal that has a melting point of 4470°F - (Niobium) - that's a hot and bright puddle!
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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:54 pm

BClemens wrote:I've welded all my life - not as a career but as a portion of that persuit. I've stick, MIG and TIG welded for all this time and now realize that my eyesight is darn poor.
Have you recently been examined by an ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) for the formation of cataracts? I've been welding for close to 60 years and it was only in the last several years that I had become aware of deteriorating vision. The problem was cataracts, which are brought on by the aging process and have little to do with the brightness of light to which one has been exposed. The ophthalmologist can conclusively determine if cataracts are your problem or if some other issue, such as macular edema (common in people with diabetes), diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration, is at work and if so, recommend a coarse of treatment.
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I'm an old guy. What's your excuse? ☻

BClemens
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by BClemens » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:03 am

BigDumbDinosaur wrote:
BClemens wrote:I've welded all my life - not as a career but as a portion of that persuit. I've stick, MIG and TIG welded for all this time and now realize that my eyesight is darn poor.
Have you recently been examined by an ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) for the formation of cataracts? I've been welding for close to 60 years and it was only in the last several years that I had become aware of deteriorating vision. The problem was cataracts, which are brought on by the aging process and have little to do with the brightness of light to which one has been exposed. The ophthalmologist can conclusively determine if cataracts are your problem or if some other issue, such as macular edema (common in people with diabetes), diabetic retinopathy or macular degeneration, is at work and if so, recommend a coarse of treatment.
Good point! Yes, just visited an ophthalmologist and was told that I in fact do have the beginnings of cataracts but to what extent wasn't really explained. Sunlight was related as a major contributor to forming cataracts too. There are no other factors that would contribute in this case....

There are a few things overlooked during a discussion of welding and I was emphasizing the importance of eye protection - (and watching a solar eclipse too (filter #14 minimum .) Getting old is one thing but a younger welder losing some portion of their eyesight caused by welding is tragic and preventable.

BC

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:18 pm

BClemens wrote:Getting old is one thing but a younger welder losing some portion of their eyesight caused by welding is tragic and preventable.
Proper training is the key to avoiding injury, and in occupations in which one is exposed to the welding environment, enforcement of safety policies regarding eye protection is essential. What really annoys me is when I see a TV program in which someone is doing metal fabrication and is not following good safety practices. For example, on that one program in which Orange County Choppers was building custom motorcycles, you'd see guys MIG welding with bare arms and in a few cases, bare hands. Not only is that just plain stupid, it sets a really bad example for anyone watching the program who is interested in welding, giving them the erroneous impression that all that protection worn by professional weldors is not really needed.

Most of the damage to the eye during welding is caused by the "hard" ultraviolet radiation of the arc, which is beyond the visible light spectrum. Sunlight contains "hard" UV radiation, but most of it is stopped by the atmosphere. Aging continues to be the number one cause of cataracts and it is said that everyone will develop them if they live long enough. Surgery to remove the cataractous lens generally corrects the problem, but there are possible long-term side-effects, including macular pucker and the formation of macular holes due to vitreous traction, a condition in which the vitreous (transparent jelly in the eye) sticks to and pulls on the macula. Perversely, the surgery used to correct vitreous traction can lead to the formation of cataracts in patients who have their natural lenses. There's just no free lunch with this stuff! :twisted:
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b4autodark
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by b4autodark » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:11 pm

OK, here is a subject I can contribute something to. My backround,I am 66 years old, been welding since about 12, 40 years plus welding in the pipe trades, 22 of those years I also taught night school for pipe trades welder apprentices while working a full time day job. All stick and TIG welding, very little MIG as the process doesn't really lend itself to ditch or rack work and is not widely used in the pipe trades for xray work, maybe some low pressure fab shop work, but I never got involved in that aspect of my trade.

The most dangerous part of my career as far as eye protection went was in the class room, welding area, as instructor going booth to booth with students welding in 25 to 30 booths, you are going to get flashed several times per night. I always was a stickler about safety glasses, for myself and the students, and I do believe they filter out the UV rays. I always used small lens helmets and never was a fan of autodark because when I started welding they were not yet in existence and I didn't need them to achieve a good weld. The fact was many old school welding foremen wouldn't allow them on their jobs. Comments were "if you need a crutch like that to do a decent stop and start,I don't want you on my job" or " no way can those get dark fast enough to beat the arc to your eyeball,and I ain't hauling your sorry a$$ to the eye doctor". Oh how times have changed!

Now I'm retired and do a little hobby welding and repair work for neighbors and such, I still follow all the safety rules I ever did and get an eye exam every 18 months. I do have the start of cataracts and don't think it odd at my age. I have to wear glasses to help with near vision and use a number 3:00 cheater in my welding helmet. My optometrist gal looks into my eyes and says it looks like a "junkyard" with all the scar tissue and rust rings that have accumulated over the years despite caution and eye protection.

Big Dumb Dinosaur talked about guys welding bare armed and no gloves, I see that and immediatley write them off as no talent amatures no matter what their welds look like. It's like they are trying to say " a real man can stick weld overhead in a T-shirt with sandels on" yeah, go right ahead.

I guess what I'm trying to say is don't take any shortcuts, and use all safety precautions available, it's too easy to get injured.

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SteveM
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by SteveM » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:49 pm

Jim Bollinger of Do-Rite Fabrication ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQ41JP ... 0lg/videos ) did a talk on tig welding at the BarZ Summer Bash last year.

He stressed safety and had the same comments about some of the TV hacks and their lack of safety.

Here are his talks in four parts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwEDOG222nE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtzW4vFq_G4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBtCk-ahn4w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwyCxC3BTmo


He talked about a condition where it feels like your eyeballs are full of sand. When he asked if anyone in the audience had gotten it, a few people raised their hands. Talked about the sunburn you can get from welding without proper skin protection.

I haven't started welding yet. I have a gas rig I haven't used yet (haven't needed to), but boy, after hearing some of the stories, safety is way up on my list.

BTW, all the welding shops, auto parts stores and Harbor Freight are sold out of welding helmet lenses. I managed to pick some up at a surplus store that obviously wasn't on anyone's radar for solar eclipse viewing gear.

Steve

BClemens
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by BClemens » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:27 am

I have seen career welders who have burnt their retina so much that they only have peripheral vision, so when they look at you their eyes are twirling around the blind spot. And that 'black hole' irreversible - but is preventable!

b4autodark
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by b4autodark » Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:04 pm

You are correct BClemens, and it's a sad situation which is preventable. All safety aspects of welding are pretty much common sense, if it's exposed, cover it up.

The part of the trade that isn't so obvious is fumes, but that's a whole "nuther" issue.

BClemens
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by BClemens » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:17 am

b4autodark wrote:You are correct BClemens, and it's a sad situation which is preventable. All safety aspects of welding are pretty much common sense, if it's exposed, cover it up.

The part of the trade that isn't so obvious is fumes, but that's a whole "nuther" issue.
Ah Ha! You have hit on the primary issue....common sense. A person can overcome all sorts of handicaps and deficiencies in a pursuit and do well but without the benefit of some ordinary common sense a disaster is the normal outcome. And there ain't no classes in common sense!

BC

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SteveM
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by SteveM » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:54 am

BClemens wrote:And there ain't no classes in common sense!
There is: it's called "life".

Problem is, too many people sleep thru it.

Steve

BClemens
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by BClemens » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:57 am

I hate to say it but I work with some PHD's that must be asleep! They must have done nothing during their young life.... Supervision has placed us all on watch for these scientists, to help them when we see a preventable accident. Some of them believe that operating a lathe for example is easy and their PHD is ample to let them loose on a machine tool like that. So: education does not make up for common sense. I thought it was a 'tall tale' about a scientist putting an eye out by pulling on a piece of wire with a pair of long nosed needle nosed pliers - it is a true story.

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GlennW
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Re: Welding, eyes and sight

Post by GlennW » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:24 am

Both of my Brother,s in Law are PhD's.

One didn't have the sense to get out of the rain, but the other one is perfectly normal!
Glenn

Operating machines is perfectly safe......until you forget how dangerous it really is!

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