Can You Look at the Sun or Eclipse with Welding Helmet?

Several times, the question has been asked – “Can you look at the sun or an eclipse with a welding helmet?” The Traditional welding helmets are not safe. If you put on a traditional welding helmet, you will immediately notice issues with your vision, and the longer you stare at the sun, the worse it gets.

The correct welding helmet is designed to filter out the spectrum of light that is damaging to your eyes and allow you to look directly at the sun or eclipse without any issues with your vision. 

There is no way to look at the sun without going blind, and a welding helmet will protect you from this. But, unfortunately, you can not wear clear safety goggles or glass over your eyes because of the heat radiated from the welding torch.

The glass will melt, as will anything else in proximity to the torch. So that led to the thought that you cannot view the eclipse with a welding helmet.

Can you look at the sun through a welding helmet? Looking directly at the sun without proper protection is never recommended, but NASA has information that can help you answer this question in a way that doesn’t include staring straight at the sun. If working outdoors, an object or barrier should always be used to block your eyes from the sun.

Not all welding helmets are the same and this is more than just a saying. There are different shade levels available on welding helmets which makes some safer than others when it comes to staring at the sun directly.

In this article, you will learn why your eyes are so sensitive to sunlight and how certain welding helmets can allow direct sungazing with no risk of damage.

Can You Look at the Sun or Eclipse with a Welding Helmet?

Yes, but through the welding masks that has rated at shade 14, which is the darkest available, although you still can’t stare at the sun for long. These lenses are safe only when you’re viewing the sun in its totally eclipsed state. Sunglasses aren’t quite the best option when it comes to viewing solar eclipses. While they can certainly block some light, the glaring, bright sunlight can get in around the edges and ruin your experience.

There are alternatives on the market for you to consider; however: welding helmets have several features that make them ideal for eclipses.

Therefore, that does not mean that you can always view the sun through a welding helmet. Viewing solar phenomena with a welding helmet is not recommended unless your state has set very specific rules for acceptable behavior.

Given the importance of this Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse and the public’s interest in witnessing it, NASA confirms this technology to be reflective, not blocking.

The sun’s brightness is so great and overwhelming that no one should directly look at it or an eclipse with anything other than approved and certified solar-eclipse glasses. Welding safety experts advise against it, as well.

However, a welder may see an artistic opportunity in the situation by viewing a sun or eclipse indirectly through their helmet if they have no other way to do so. You probably do not realize that you can burn a hole in your retina at any time while outside – day or night, cloudy or clear sky.

This is because UV rays are always reaching your eyes. NASA provides data indicating that a welding helmet will transmit up to 89 percent of UV radiation.

That said, shade 14 welding helmets are designed to protect welders’ eyes and face against radiant heat and glare. Shade 14 is the darkest, followed by 10 and 9. This would not be high enough to protect your eyes against direct sunlight, especially if you’re staring directly at the sun.

So that, If you want to observe the upcoming solar eclipse with a welding helmet rated at 13/14 shade factor, you can do so. So long as you are certain of the level of darkness of the visor, you will be able to safely view the eclipse.

With such a high degree of transparency, though, this level of visibility comes with a price (pun intended). The material used in creating the visors decreases their impact resistance and can break. It is also possible that this combination may not meet your normal safety standards and policies.

It’s not dangerous to view the solar eclipse with a welding safety helmet, but you must be extremely cautious. Some welders use special blue-blocking lenses, but no one recommends these because the risks outweigh the benefits.

Finally, you can safely view the sun during an eclipse through welding helmet lenses. Unfortunately, only one manufacturer of solar eclipse glasses was verified by NASA.

These glasses are outfitted with lenses made from black polymer, which are more than five times darker than the dark orange lenses found on most sunglasses and handhelds.

The specific tint of the material covering the lenses is Solar Black polymer. It filters 99.99% of UV radiation and reduces sky glow at twilight, giving you a clearer view of the transition between day and night during the solar event. Look for this trademark Solar Black polymer on your protective eyewear to protect you from harmful light rays.

Also See: Best Auto Darkening Welding Helmet

What Is A Solar Eclipse?

The moon can block out the sun during a solar eclipse, turning day into night. This is because, at a new moon, the moon passes directly between Earth and the sun, and Earth’s shadow falls upon the moon’s surface.

Although people often mistake solar eclipses for major lunar eclipses (when our satellite falls into Earth’s shadow), there’s a significant difference between their working mechanisms. 

Except on the days leading up to its eclipse, our moon orbits Earth every 28 days, creating a new “moon shadow” over our planet every time it passes between Earth and the sun.

How many times have you gazed up at the sun and seen a small bite taken out of it? The chances are that you’ve witnessed a solar eclipse without even knowing it! There are four types of solar eclipses: partial, annular, total, and hybrid.

Also See: tips how to paint a welding helmet that looks awesome

Staring At A Total Solar Eclipse Is Dangerous, And Science Says Why?

While a solar eclipse is certainly an incredible sight, it’s also dangerous to look at the sun. Our eyes’ corneal reflex or blink reflex helps prevent us from staring directly at the sun too long. The only problem with that reflex? It kicks in after your eyes have already sustained damage.

So, unfortunately, there’s no way to know whether you’ve stared at the sun too long and have damaged your vision until it happens.

The reason is that the sun’s brightness makes up 99.9% of all light our eyes can take in. By this logic, it would be like staring at the moon for years—not good. But, in reality, it’s not as extreme as that, and it only takes a momentary glance before your eyes are temporarily damaged.

If you’re not careful to wear proper viewing protection, a solar eclipse could cause permanent eye damage. Even staring at a partial eclipse can be risky. The temporary blindness following an eclipse is caused by the indirect light that makes it through the moon’s thin outer atmosphere.

There are no UV emissions to signal your ciliary muscles to constrict your pupils, so they remain dilated when you glance at the sun’s unobstructed light bouncing off the ground and trees.

Don’t be tempted to visually see what is happening during any solar eclipse. There is no safe way to look directly at the sun during an eclipse, even if it seems dim or appears to have a halo of light around it.

And given that this particular eclipse will be visible from all of North America and parts of South America and the Pacific (all in the daytime), many people will be tempted to take a peek, especially given the hype surrounding the event.

If you view the eclipse not having the correct equipment, you’re going to be seeing spots. This is because retinopathy, a specific type of eye damage, damages photoreceptors—the rods and cones convert light into electric signals that travel to the brain. 

If you look directly into the sun during a solar eclipse, you risk turning your eyes to blackened cinders, making you blind for life! Thus, If you stare at a solar eclipse without glasses, the radiation can turn you into a bionic man.

In the late 1700s, people noticed a high spate of blindness that coincided with eclipses. It only took them a few decades to figure out the cause: looking directly at the sun can cause retinopathy, which leads to permanent vision loss.

How Do Welding Helmets Protect Your Eyes?

A welding mask is designed to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV and infrared light. When you wear a welding mask, it covers most of your face and has a small window in front of your eyes that allows you to see what you are working on.

This window is tinted differently depending upon how much UV or infrared light it needs to filter out. A welding mask keeps the eye-safe from UV or infrared lights, which come from heat reactions against metal. It’ll also keep your vision clear and free of smoke.

Most welding masks have a shade rating, ranging from 9 to 12 (with higher numbers being darker shade). A higher-number rating means ultraviolet and infrared light beams will cause less damage to your retinas.

When looking for a welding mask or just any sort of shaded eye gear, you should consider a few basic features. There are two main types: those with regular lenses and those with a shade ten filter. The latter is suitable for all sorts of jobs, from welding to manual labor.

As long as it’s not cracked, scratched, or the lens shade is above 10, your eyes will be protected from UV lights. To ensure the safety of your eyes, when welding, you must wear a welding mask, which protects your eyes from that intense light.

Welding masks are required to help protect the eyes from UV Lights. Although the masks cannot filter out all UV lights, they still provide ample protection for your vision. You’re protecting yourself by working with a welding helmet and guaranteeing quality vision while you work.

Welding masks are designed to prevent harmful rays from reaching your eyes. When choosing a mask, the shade number given corresponds to what kind of welding you will be doing. For example, shade 2 is used for most light work, torch soldering, and shading applications.

Welding masks are used during a brazing or welding process to protect the eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays to help prevent welding flash. The two types of welding masks are Auto-Darkening Welding Masks and Fixed Shaded Welding Masks.

You can buy Auto-Darkening Welding Masks and Fixed Shaded Welding Masks at shade levels., these are the darkest and most protectable, as recommended by the American Welding Society (AWS).

Fixed Shaded Welding Masks:

Fixed shading welding helmets are used widely throughout the world. Auto-darkening helmets provide eye protection by blocking out harmful ultraviolet and infrared spectrum light.

However, unlike auto-darkening helmets, fixed shading helmets protect you from both the UV and the IR with a simple shade selection knob. This gives you an enormous amount of flexibility, allowing you to weld in literally any type of environment with only one helmet.

Auto-Darkening Welding Masks:

the fixed shade welders’ masks offer you the freedom to take your welding project just about anywhere. This auto-darkening welding helmet can darken to protect you from blindness as high as 12 on its range of UV and infrared light emitters.

It allows you to use shade numbers 6 to 13 to protect against exposure and has a viewing region of 2 inches x 4 inches, with a 4-1/4 inch square viewing window. This welding mask allows you to adjust it to fit your face and includes dual adjustable headbands with comfy sponge cushions, replaceable batteries, and an extra lens in case you need it.

What Is The Proper Darkness Rating On A Welding Helmet?

Shade 14 is the darkest safety shade available on the market today. It is regarded as the best shade rating to wear during a solar eclipse. People who are wearing shades with shade ratings of 12 or even 13 during a solar eclipse are at risk of injuring their eyes.

A lesser shade rating such as 12 or 13 may cause damage to the retina, but it also causes exposure to what is known as indirect sunlight. This indirect sunlight exposure can potentially cause permanent retinal damage even if you have your eclipse glasses in proper position just one second too late.

The darkest filter possible is the way to go when it comes to protecting your eyes during a solar eclipse, and welders already know this. Many customers have told REI that they’re buying welding helmets to use as solar eclipse glasses, but often these helmets are not quite dark enough for the sun’s intense rays. Customers have found a few options:

  • An auto-darkening helmet
  • A welding helmet rated for the sun’s rays
  • A modified welding helmet

Also, be sure to research your options and order well before the eclipse if you don’t find any of these helmets at your local stores.

Because a welding mask doesn’t protect you from the full light of the sun, you should still avoid looking at it directly during any stage of an eclipse. While certain types of welding masks offer shade 14 darkness, they are not safe to wear during a solar eclipse.

So, Not all welding helmets are created equal. Shade 14 darkness is what you need to view the sun in its eclipsed state. When wearing a helmet with a shade of 4-13 darkness, you can only look at the sun during a total eclipse.

If you plan on taking pictures of the total solar eclipse and have a helmet with a lower rating than 14, wear protective eyewear over your eyes as well.

Also See: How to Set Your MIG Welding Helmet Shading?

Harmful Ultraviolet Exposure Occurs During A Solar Eclipse?

These are the most dangerous kind of ultraviolet rays which are the ones that cause short-term and long-term damage to your eyes.


Ultraviolet A causes retinal damage that is often irreversible, known as solar retinopathy. Ultraviolet A (295 nm to 325 nm) is commonly known as UV-A. UV-A is weak but of high frequency and has a greater impact on the eyes than UV-C.


Ultraviolet B, the rays that contribute to the sunburn effect, are stronger than UVA and have damaging effects on the eyes and skin.


Ultraviolet rays from the sun cause damage to the retina. UV light is called UV-C, although most UV-C light is not harmful because the ozone layer stops it.

6 Conditions Caused By Looking At The Sun Without Protective Glasses

Here are some conditions caused by looking at the sun with using any kind of protective shades.


Cataracts are characterized by the breakdown of proteins in your eye’s tissues, resulting in blurred vision and clouding of the lens.


Photokeratitis, or ultraviolet keratitis, is a condition that causes severe eye pain and itching and blistering, and cracking of the eyes. Not treating eye infections can lead to blindness.

Burning Eyes:

Your eyes may become irritated and tear up. They might feel like they are burning, and you will not open them.


A condition called pinguecula causes yellow bumps to form on the eye’s outer lens, causing severe irritation. Fortunately, it can be treated with corticosteroid eye drops or oral medications with treatment.

Macular degeneration:

Macular degeneration is a condition in which the central portion of your retina succumbs to blindness. There is no known cure.


The longer a person looks at the sun and other bright objects, the less able that person will be to stare at such objects without pain.

Solar Eclipse Safety and Role of Welding Glasses?

Not only do sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UVB and UVA rays, but so will any number of other eye protection options, such as welding masks and UV-coated contact lenses.

Now, let’s look at just how solar eclipse glasses work to let you see the eclipse safely. Solar eclipse glasses are specifically designed to protect your eyes during a solar eclipse.

Since polycarbonate and plastic are not as strong as glass, they can easily be damaged by changes in temperature, pressure, and other environmental factors. After these materials have been damaged, they are almost incapable of blocking out any harmful UV light.

Solar eclipse glasses work by blocking the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. However, they do not protect against visible light, so it is important to look at where you purchase these glasses.

Different companies make them, and the materials they use can be dangerous. Make sure to research the durability and material of the eclipse glasses before you buy one.

How do solar eclipse glasses work? With the help of a few important design and production considerations, they block 100,000 times more light than any kind of sunglasses allowing you to safely look directly at the sun during an eclipse, even if only for a few seconds.

 Solar eclipse glasses allow you to keep your eyes protected during the upcoming solar eclipse. While looking directly at the sun can be hazardous no matter what, these special glasses have been designed with a black polymer that blocks all UV rays and most visible light, keeping your eyes safe while viewing the eclipse.

You have probably noticed that many different styles of eclipse glasses are available to buy. They may look different, but the important thing is that they are made to the correct safety standards and block out a large amount of visible light and UV rays.

Is it Safe to Staring Directly at the Sun?

The sun is a harsh mistress; You shouldn’t stare at the sun. You might just go blind. But you can always stare at her if you have the right protection. The right equipment is more important than ever.

But what happens if you do end up looking directly into the sun? The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun will damage the cornea (the clear window at the front of your eye) and lead to vision problems. Even a small amount of UV exposure results in invisible long-term damage that builds up over time. Do yourself and your future self a favor and avoid looking at the sun.

Your cornea isn’t just a protective layer for your eyes. It assists in the process of seeing through a physical phenomenon known as the “refractive effect.” Just how exactly does this work? If you look at something close up, light from that object will bend (or refract) as it hits your eye.

Due to the position of your corneas in combination with the clearness of the rest of your eyeballs, you’ll see whatever you’re looking at. That said, ultraviolet light can damage your cornea over time, as it’s an intense form of radiation.

So that Staring directly at the sun is a very bad idea, and since you’re reading this, we’re going to assume that you know that. First, however, it’s important to understand exactly how bad of an idea it is.

The sun produces UV rays that can cause any number of harmful effects to your eyes, namely photokeratitis, a condition where your corneas burn and begin to blister. While the consequences of this condition aren’t immediately life-threatening, they’re not particularly pleasant either.

While it may not seem like one of the more dangerous natural hazards, people can still suffer from the effects of photokeratitis. If you stare directly at the Sun without protection, you can start to develop a condition called photokeratitis, which is essentially acute sunburn on your eyes.

As reported by the Mayo Clinic, this leads to several uncomfortable symptoms, including gritty and scratchy eyes, inflamed eyes, also known as photokeratitis, and difficulty opening your eyelids.

When you stare at the sun for too long (or when you look directly at the sun through binoculars or a telescope, for example) and don’t take precautions to protect your eyes, you can cause permanent harm.

In addition, when you expose your eyes to intense light for too long, the retina releases chemicals that can lead to retinal damage. By using a welding helmet, you help protect yourself from this danger.

It is never safe to stare directly at the sun. Even though you might be able to cover your eyes completely and think that you will still be able to see the sun, there is just too much light that comes through any potential gaps between fingers and the spaces between each finger.

The only adequate protection against this problem lies in specially designed solar eclipse glasses that can block over 99.99% of UV radiation and 100% of harmful IR and visible light.

The Consequences of Staring at the Sun is a short and simple film about the true physical pain that is staring directly at the sun causes in your eyes. It is not merely harmless discomfort but a real, genuine, and lasting damage.

So, can you wear a welding helmet to view an eclipse?

There is a possibility that you can see the eclipse through welding glass or shade 12 filter glass. However, it is not recommended. The dark filter will slightly darken and reduce the contrast between lunar features, magnifying the sun into intense and blinding light.

Furthermore, the optical properties of these materials do not provide complete protection from intense visible and invisible radiation. Welding helmets are specifically engineered to protect exposed eyes from intense ultraviolet (UV), infrared (IR), and frequency-modulated (FM) radiation generated during welding processes.

These IR and FM blocking filters are intended to shield the welder’s eyes from potentially hazardous radiation at levels that can cause burns if viewed unprotected.

Some helmets are equipped with IR and FM blocking plus a special silver coating on the outer surface of the helmet shell to provide additional eye protection from infrared and visible radiation when viewing directly through the viewing lens.

If you are interested in viewing an eclipse while wearing your helmet, check with your helmet manufacturer for more details about your helmet’s capabilities and safety features that may be available for eclipse viewing.

7 Safety Measurements: Do You Make These Mistakes When Using A Welding Helmet?

  • Before using a welding helmet, check that the shade number corresponds to the American Welding Society (AWS) DIN system for welders. Shade numbers below 13 should not be used for looking directly at the sun.
  • Before using the welding helmet, be certain to check the solar filter to ensure that it is not cracked or damaged.
  • When wearing your welding helmet, always include prescription safety glasses underneath.
  • To protect your eyes, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and do not move while looking at the sun.
  • Too much exposure to ultraviolet and infrared radiation can cause serious damage. So Do not stare at the source of light for an extended period.
  • Never stare at the sun or an eclipse in a telescope while wearing a welding helmet. The intense light can blind you.
  • Never take off your welding helmet during exposure to the sun or while watching an eclipse.

Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About An Eclipse

But first, let’s quickly go over some surprising facts you may not have known about an eclipse.

  • Because the Earth is round, most people don’t realize that there is a small-time period called “totality” when the moon completely covers the sun, and you can see amazing things on Earth during this time.
  • Did you know that the solar eclipse happens during a new moon?
  • An eclipse can last for hours.
  • It won’t get dark during an eclipse.
  • The eclipse can be seen from almost anywhere on Earth.
  • Did you know that only about 2% of the sun is visible from Earth?
  • Did you know that an eclipse doesn’t seem as dark as it should to us.
  • There is a difference between an eclipse and a solar eclipse.
  • An eclipse is just another name for a New Moon.
  • This “ring of fire” effect is called the Corona.
  • American Indians considered it an omen of death and destruction.


Solar eclipse viewing is a thing you can do—with precautions. To make sure you don’t hurt your eyes, or burn the skin around them, use a welding mask to look at the sun and an eclipse directly, according to NASA.

The ideal shade depends on several factors, including where you live and what type of welding helmet you have. Before looking at this important astronomical event, you need to know the exact shade your helmet is.

If you purchase a welding helmet, you will want to be sure that it is shade-12 and above. These lockouts as much UV light as possible, highly recommended for any amount of time you weld.

Before 2000 some welders used no eye protection. Since 2000 most welders have worn personal protective equipment (PPE). But prescription glasses needed for other work do not provide the extra UV protection that sunglasses for more than 160 nm wavelength provide.

Glasses won’t help if you’re hit from above or below by a UV light welding helmet with the ability to wear prescription glasses or sunglasses underneath the helmet. It provides 100% UV protection and meets ANSI Z87.1+ standards seems like everyone wants and needs to get a good look at the sun these days, but not many are taking the necessary precautions.

As long as you use proper eye protection, you’re just fine. But don’t let your guard down your eyes matter too much to take chances with them.


Should a welding helmet darken when looking at the sun?

A welding helmet will darken when looking at the sun, but by no means should it be a general rule that it should. Auto-darkening helmets will also react to regular sunlight. However, you might want to consider a fixed shade glass because during solar eclipses, sensors might change their reactions and clear up your lens.

Do welding helmets protect from UV?

Yes, welding helmets protect from UV rays. Because welding requires a very bright light, and UV rays are part of that light, welding helmets have special filters to block out UV. The filters prevent damage to your eyes as well as protect from skin cancer and other health problems.

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