Appropriate laser eye protection (LEP) devices must be worn within the nominal hazard zone (NHZ) when working with Class 3b and Class 4 lasers or laser systems when engineering or procedural and administrative controls are not practicable. However, if analysis demonstrates that the maximum permissible exposure (MPE) will not be exceeded due to an extremely short NHZ, then LEP may not be required, if confirmed in consultation with the Laser Safety Officer (LSO). This could occur due to laser beam emission characteristics (e.g. highly divergent beam), restrictions placed on the use of the laser or laser systems (e.g. limited open or enclosed beam path) or other factors.
Laser protective eyewear is usually not required for Class 2 or Class 3R lasers or laser systems, except in conditions where intentional long-term (>0.25 seconds) direct viewing is required. Eyewear must be specifically selected to withstand either direct or diffusely scattered beams and shall meet all provisions of ANSI Z87.1-1989. (188.8.131.52)
Eyewear must be inspected before each use, cleaned periodically and replaced if necessary, to maintain the eyewear in good condition. Contact the LSO for assistance in selecting protective eyewear.
This highest risk for accidental injury occurs during laser alignments. See laser alignment procedures.
Filters used in the construction of laser safe eye protection (LEP) all have physical damage thresholds that may be exceeded under certain conditions, e.g. ultrashort, high peak power and high pulse repetition laser systems. Consult with the LSO and laser eyewear manufacturers when selecting eyewear for these lasers. LEP may also be inadequate to protect the user from serious ocular exposure from high power, multi-kilowatt laser beams.
Manufacturers of Laser Eyewear - This list is provided as a reference only and should not be considered as an endorsement of any particular company or product, by the University of Virginia.