Normally welders feel pain and irritation in the eyes at the end of the day. What causes this?

S. SELVA KUMAR

Pondicherry

Welding requires a lot of energy to melt or fuse the metals. Release of heat and energy can cause chemical and physical reactions. Welding produces ultraviolet, visible and infrared radiation at harmful levels.

These radiations and their secondary effects are responsible for the visual hazards. In general welding radiations of shorter wavelengths cause cornea problems whereas welding radiations of longer wavelengths cause biconvex. Welders will suffer a condition known as ‘arc-eye,’ a sensation of sand in the eyes and can occur even if exposure is limited to a few seconds of looking directly at a welding arc without eye protection.

This condition causes the cornea to swell and also can produce pain, sensitivity to light, and tearing. Repeated exposure can cause permanent eye damage. Cataracts also have been linked to long-term UV exposure.

When welding, both the person doing the welding and bystanders should wear protective face shields with filtered glass for protection against eye injuries.

A. SATHASIVAM

Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research

Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu