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Eye protection for lampworking


I recently heard of a lampworking class that recommended using
regular dark glasses when lampworking with a hot head torch. Does
this work at all? Sounds like a false sense of security to me.
I’ve read that when using a hot head torch it is not essential to
use eye protection (ie didymiun glass). Any thoughts?


Mary - I’m sure Mike Aurelius will pipe up, but I wanted to make sure
you get a response. There was a thread about this just recently on
the forums (International Society of Glass Beadmakers, of
which I’m also a member), which referenced a recent NIOSH report and
some follow-up Basically, the reasons to use didymium
safety glasses (or better yet, Auralens), aRe:

  1. they help protect the eyes from flying glass shards (don’t
    discount this - it’s a very real hazard; I have flying glass shards
    nearly every time I sit at the torch)

  2. they help protect the eyes from radiation (IR, and with
    borosilicate - UV)

  3. they help to filter out the flare of the molten glass so that you
    can actually see what you’re doing

So, no, regular dark glasses are not appropriate. For borosilicate
and other applications where the heat is more intense and radiation
is stronger, better filters are required. The web page
has some great about various lenses and heat sources.

This is an expensive hobby to get involved with, and you just can’t
cut corners anywhere.



Check out They make all kinds of safety glasses for
glass workers, x-ray workers, laser workers, etc. There’s great
on their website for what protection you need for a
specific task. Some of their glasses are pricey, but what price your
eyes? Hope this helps.



Hi there! I’m a veteran lampworker (6 years now) and a newbie
silversmith. If by “dark glasses” they meant regular sunglasses,
that’s entirely untrue and unsafe. Polarized sunglasses might
protect you from some of the UV given off by hot glass (heated from
any torch) but they will not protect you from the IR and also will
not filter out the soda flare (orange light) which is given off when
you introduce soda lime glass into the flame. You end up being
largely unable to see what you’re working on.

At minimum, you should be using rose didymium glasses. Better yet
are the stronger filters such as Auralens 92’s or the Phillips
equivalents (their product name escapes me, I’m sorry).

You can search out very good on proper safety glasses on
the Society of Glass Beadmakers website ( as well as
the Glass Technical Forum on Wet Canvas. ( Good
luck and play safe!

Desert Dreamer Designs


Absolutely NOT True! Always use at least didyium glasses to cut the
sodium flare and protect your eyes from UV radiation. AUR gives
better color recognition and more UV protection. Jim Kervins’s
book-"More Than you You Ever Wanted To Know About Glass Beadmaking"
has an excellent chapter on eye protection and the dangers of UV and
infrared radiation from torchwork. You can contact him at (925)
443-9139 or order from Arrow Springs at
Craig at Arrow Springs is an excellent source of for all
things lampwork related- I highly recommend this company. Good luck
with your lampworking . It’s highly addicting.

Patricia Stoll
Son’e Designs


Mary - glassworking with a hot head or Quiet Torch (aka Fireworks
Torch) should use didymium or didymium-variant filters to remove the
yellow sodium flare from the flame contacting the glass There is
nothing hazardous to filter out, but the didymium filters allow you
to see through the yellow so you can see what you are doing

Dark welding filters do not remove yellow and are worse than useless
because they are so dark

You should ALWAYS wear some sort of eye protection, even clear
safety glasses are better than nothing - what will protect your eyes
when the glass heat-shocks and explodes into your eyes?

Mike Aurelius (from home)
Aura Lens Products


My thoughts- NO, no, no! at the very least you need didymium, for
the casual user. If you are going pro, you need the more expensive
glasses- I’m having a brain fluff right now, can’t recall what they
are called. But wearing ordinary dark glasses will not protect your
eyes from the damaging light spectrums the torch generates. Plus,
you probably won’t be able to see what you are doing.


The eye protection that should be used are either a pair of
didymium’s (affectionately called “birth control glasses” among
lampworkers because the frames are not very becoming on anyone) or
the Aura’s put out by Auralens company…go to I
just upgraded to the Aura’s from the Didy’s and there is a difference

  • besides being a lot lighter and not slipping down my nose every 5
    minutes - they do a very fine job of cutting the soda flare from the
    melting glass that’s in the torch. The Aura’s are about $90 but they
    are glasses that will last you a long time if properly taken care of
    and Mike ships quickly…don’t skimp when it comes to your eyes…you
    only get one pair in your lifetime and you can’t make beads without