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Its time to update the prescription in my glasses, and I was thinking about moving to contacts.

Before I go to the doctor, I was wondering if any one had thoughts or experiences regarding wearing contacts in the shop. Of course I would always be wearing safety glasses over them, but are there any health concerns, or other things specific to smithing that I should consider?

Thanks

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I wear my contacts all the time and have no issues but I would definitely recommend the safety glasses when grinding or cutting.

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I wore hard contacts from age 13 until I was 42 - when I had cataract surgery and the doc fixed my vision (that was GREAT!) so here I sit seven years later without needing glasses of any sort. However, I worked around blacksmithing, welding and machining since I was 18 so wore contacts in nasty environments for a long time. Contacts are no worse than glasses but any trash that does get in your eyes will hurt more. Glasses get smudged and dirty plus they distort your vision more than contacts. Of course, some people cannot wear them because they have dry eyes and I can't predict your success but having worn both, I'd pick contacts over glasses any day.

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I don't wear glasses or contacts (knock on wood) so I can't say from experience but I have always heard that you shouldn't wear (soft) contacts around welding or extreme heat, but maybe that's an old theory but I do remember once hearing that they can melt and bond to your eye, again this is just what I was always told.

welder19

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No worries about your contacts bonding to your eyes - if you're so close to the heat that your lenses are melting . . . you've got other more immediate problems :o

I don't wear mine in the shop because I have to wear torics (corrects stigmatism) and that ruins my close-up vision so I keep the ol' specs on.

Just make sure to keep your safety glasses on and keep some re-wetting drops handy in case your eyes get dry.

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I have worn contacts since I was 14 and love them. I have also been welding and fabricating for many years and have found that contacts actually give you another layer of protection. I wear my safety glasses (the ones that actually fit your face, not the cheap ones) and can still seem to get things to get past them and into my eyes. Just yesterday I replaced my right eye contact because I had a piece of steel, slag or scale stuck to my contact. Now this has happened to me a few times before and will probably not be the last. I figure I would have been much more angry if I hadn't had my contacts in and that chunk of whatever it was had hit my bare eye instead.

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I prefer wearing my contacts in the shop because i can wear safety glasses over them. My regular glasses are smaller and have no side shields so i don't like to use them as safety glasses because they don't offer as much protection. They do have safety glasses that fit over regular glasses but i don't care for those. They are too big, never seem to fit right, and you then have four lenses to fog up.

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I have a friend who was an eye surgeon and used to do my eye exams for me too. He advised me not to wear contacts when smithing or welding; of course he was the one called in when *bad* things happened; so he probably has a skewed view of things. His collection of "this is what happens when you do something stupid" pictures were a sure fired diet aid indeed!

I am badly nearsighted and wear actual safety glasses for my regular glasses. I buy the *large* and they are heavy but every time they try to suggest contacts or surgery, (not a good candidate due to the level of correction I need) I show them my old glasses with the chips, melts, etc on the leses and tell them I prefer it to happen there rather than on my eyes.

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I wear glasses because I don't like the idea of contacts. I also don't liek wearing safety glasses. They are too cumbersome and tend to fall off my tiny head. My granddaddy makes glasses for a living so he made me soem special pair. My everyday pair is a auto shading lense but is also made from safety glass maerial. My reenacting pair is clear lensed but still made rom safety glass material so I can forge and reenact safely and authenticaly. Anyway, I prefer the regular glasses with the safety lense.

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You might want to visit a *good* safety glass store these days as there are safety glass styles that are indistinguishable from regular glasses. When I switched the frames looked exactly like my last pair of "aviator" glasses except for the required safety markings.

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At one time I wore soft contact lenses in the shop until the day I raise my face shield and the fellow across the shop started his grinder. The shower of shards sort of nailed my lenses to my eyeball, what pain, and the eye doctor in the emergency room suggested that if I was going to be doing metal work I invest in a pair of safety glasses with safety side shields. So I no longer wear contacts and I do have prescription safety glasses with side shields. I still have to get x-rays of my eyes when I get MRI's taken though because I work with steel. Brass, bronze, silver and gold are OK though. It just ferrous metals that are a problem for MRI's.

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I would not wear contact lenses in a blacksmith shop. This is why: A friend that was taking blacksmith classes with me, only wore contact lenses due to her glasses being so thick. Her eyes were constantly red. She went to the eye doctors and he just about yelled at her to get her contacts out now. Dust had gotten under them and scratched both eyes. They thought she might not be able to wear contacts again. Fortunately, she only wore her bottle bottom glasses in the shop with goggles after that and her eyes did heal a few weeks later to allow her to wear contacts again. I make my daughter take her contacts out, put on her glasses and goggles when she is working in my shop.

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I have always had excellent success wearing contacts while forging.

On the topic of accidental grit, I find that I fair much better with contacts IN than out. I believe the reason for this is that since the contact is "stuck" to the eye it provides a measure of grit protection for the eyeball; I've rarely had an irritant get UNDER the contact. The only irritation from grit happens on the unprotected eyelid.

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It's been back in the mid eighties but OSHA sent an advisory around warning of fusing contacts to your eyes in the event of a severe electrical arc flash or severe welding arc flash with several documented cases.
I know I've said the nasty word (OSHA) but I listened on this one and do not let anyone wear contact in my shop.

John

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I wear contacts in the shop all the time. The only problem I have is sometimes they tend to try out, so I keep eye drop in my first aid cabnet. I personaly think its worth it.

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I don't generally know enough about metal working to post that often, but I have been wearing hard contact lenses since about 1963 or so. When I started metalworking/blacksmithing I asked my ophthalmologist about any potential dangers arising from wearing contacts, especially in regards to electric welding. His opinion was that there were no inherent dangers to hard contact lens wearers other than the common sense ones regarding normal eye protection. Different folks have different sensitivities, etc. so you have to make your own judgments. I have to have cataract surgery soon, so I am looking forward to the possibility of not having to wear corrective lenses for the first time since 8th grade; it may be a scary experience seeing this face in the mirror first thing in the mornings!!!!

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If you have reservations about contacts or anything to do with your eyes for that matter, I suggest you contact an opthamalogist and get an educated, professional opinion. There are many variables that we as laymen may not consider, that are obvious to them.
By the way, I do wear contact lenses, have done so since high school. I also wear safety glasses.

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