Welding with an auto-darkening welding helmet Part 7
A lot of people who have never used an auto-darkening welding helmet have concerns about eye protection during the arc strike. There was originally some concern that lens reaction time was too long and would cause eye damage over time. Modern auto darkening helmets have largely corrected this, and you’ll rarely find a helmet that does not darken within 1/25,000 of a second of arc initiation or faster. In most cases your eyes won’t be able to detect any flash at all.
Even at lower standards it was barely noticeable and when properly adjusted, no flash would be visible. But even this isn’t usually a concern as the helmet is already providing nearly 100% protection against the damaging rays. At worst you’d see a brief spot in your vision when things went completely dark if the helmet did not respond correctly. But no long term damage should be observed. The improvements over the last 10 years in auto darkening helmets have taken care of most, if not all of these concerns, even in cheaper brands.
Any reported eye issues are likely the cause of back flashing, the reflection off of clothes or surrounding objects that reflect the light into the helmet. This is would be common though even with an old fashioned non electronic welding helmet. That’s one reason that selecting a proper fitting welding helmet is so important, especially one with good range of adjustability so the fit can be tailored correctly to the user’s head.
Most welding helmet manufacturers offer the switching speed statement either on the box, in the literature or on the lens itself, so be sure to check it out before you buy. Remember, the higher the fractional number, the better switching speed it has.