Why Do Eyes Hurt After Welding & What To Do About It?

Well, it really sucks when your eyes hurt after welding, even though you have the top-quality auto-darkening helmet. Tell you what, there is nothing wrong with your helmet. Then why this happens?

You are not alone to have this problem. There are lot welders out there having the same problem. I keep a sharp eye on the welding world in several forums, and so many welders have expressed their frustration about it.

Let me disappoint you a bit.  There is no single culprit behind this and you need to check some factors. In this article, I will talk about some reasons why your eyes hurt after welding and some solutions to fix this. Stay with me!

Why Do Eyes Hurt Right After Welding?

Corneal Flash Burn

The problem you are facing is called flash burn which can happen even if you have the latest welding helmet. Still, there could be something wrong with your helmet like poor battery condition or maybe the auto-darkening filter is not working properly.

There could be flash burn in your retina and the cornea. But most likely you are suffering from corneal flash burn because this is the front-side of your eyes and they are most likely to get injured first.

So, how do you know you have a corneal flash burn?

Symptoms of Corneal Flash Burn

The corneal flash burn may make you go blind completely if not treated properly. For better treatment, you need to detect it ASAP. Look for the following symptoms:

  • Extreme pains when you look at any light.
  • Cloudy & watery eyes.
  • Your eyes may turn red or at least there will be red skin around your eyes.
  • Even your eyes may leak blood.
  • Your eye vision suddenly becomes worse.

Reasons for Flash Burn That Cause Eyes Hurt

There are several reasons why flash burn happens and I have talked about them a lot in my other articles. Flash burn is a natural consequence if you arc weld unprotected. Without wearing the helmet, welding is not just foolish, it’s very dangerous!

Think about the heat generated from the molten metal, sparks & spatters that generates from welding. You don’t have to do it professionally, even if you try welding some small projects with your small welder at home, the same thing is true.

Don’t forget about the UV radiation which is equally dangerous for the eyes and your skin too.

In fact, if you are exposed to such UV rays from welding without wearing any protection for a prolonged time, you may be a victim of second or even third-degree burn.

Even if you wear the welding helmet during the entire time of welding, still there is a chance of welder’s flash if you have the wrong settings for the shade, delay time, and sensitivity of your helmet.

So, a flash burn is the welding occupational hazard that is not so uncommon and you need to take it seriously.

It’s a serious issue when your eyes hurt after welding and you should immediately contact your doctor. To understand the severity of the damage, your doctor may suggest your any or both of the following two tests:

  1. A slit-lamp test where they will use a microscope to check for any injury.
  2. To check your eye movements and vision, they may run a visual acuity test.

Treatments Available For Eyes Hurt After Welding

Remember the above-mentioned symptoms? If any of these symptoms continue for a while, you need to see a doctor ASAP! You should only follow the treatments & advice that your doctor recommends.

However, these following treatments that doctors may recommend you along with some advice:

  • Due to the corneal flash burn, there is a chance that your eyelid may get stick to your eyes. To prevent this, you need to keep your eyes moist. There are ointments and artificial tears that your doctor may recommend for this.
  • To help you reduce the pain, you may try using moist and cool bandages as per doctor’s recommendation.
  • You can try using eye patch along with antibiotic medicine to prevent further eye infection but only if your doctor recommends so.
  • If the corneal flash burn damaged your eye severely, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Now watch the video to learn from welding flash burn from the doctor!

Tips To Prevent Eyes Pain After Welding

Medical treatments can’t assure you a full recovery from such eye damages. That’s the reason you need to take preventive measures so that your eyes don’t hurt after welding activities.

  1. Never go welding without wearing your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Welding without wearing the helmet is more like a suicide mission for your own eyes.
  2. Learn the optimal settings for your auto-darkening helmet. Ensure whether the auto-darkening filter activates swiftly after you strike the arc.
  3. Make sure the battery of your helmet is functioning at their full-strength. Replace battery regularly and try to avoid solar-powered welding helmet.
  4. A top-quality auto-darkening welding helmet is 100% capable of giving you full protection against UV & IR rays. So, don’t compromise the quality when you decide to buy one.
  5. In addition to the helmet, make sure to wear sunglasses to protect against UV rays when you go directly under the sun (yes, the sun is responsible for corneal flash burn too!).

If you are employed in a welding job, your employer must ensure your safety. If you read the section (b)(2) of OSHA standards regarding welding, cutting, and brazing standards, you will find that they put great emphasis on helmets, goggles, and face-shields as part of your eye protection.

To understand the quality of your helmet, make sure it specifically meets ANSI Z87.1 standard.

Summing Up

Don’t take it lightly when your eyes hurt after any type of welding. Most eye doctors will tell you that you may lose your eye vision completely after such flash burn.

Take preventive measures every way possible but immediately rush to your doctor when you fall a victim of corneal flash burn.

Medical Disclaimer: In no way, this article is the substitute for your doctor’s recommendation& prescription. The purpose of this article is to give you some information only.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.