Can you Stare at Sun Through a Welding Helmet?

Can you Stare at Sun Through a Welding Helmet?

Sun rays are bright enough to hurt your eyes and even induce permanent distortion in vision. By using a welding helmet, you will be able to look at the sun and watch an eclipse. According to NASA, a welding helmet of shade 12 or higher is needed for viewing the shining sun.

Any headgear with number 11 or lesser will not have enough darkness to nullify the brightness of the sun rays and, thus, will not protect your eyes adequately. Using such a welding helmet can be fatal for your eyes, and it can even induce permanent blindness.

What type of Harmful rays are present in SUNLIGHT?

UV rays present in sun

The sunlight contains a group of different ultraviolet radiations. The UV rays are very damaging for a normal human’s eyes, and they can even cause sunburn in the eyes. The NVISION has declared sunrays one of the leading causes for eyes sightedness in humans. Following are the different UV rays that are present in sunlight.

Ultraviolet C (UVC rays) 

These type of UV rays has the wavelength ranging from 200 to 290 nm. These rays can be very damaging to humans, but luckily most of their portion is filtered by the ozone layer. There are UVC rays that are produced by humans and are used as antiseptics.

Ultraviolet B (UVB rays)

The wavelength of these rays ranges from 290 to 320 nm. These rays cut through the ozone layer and reach the Earth’s surface. Ultraviolet B causes sunburn and a number of damaging photochemical changes within cells, including DNA damage, leading to premature aging of the skin, premalignant and malignant changes, and a variety of photosensitivity reactions; it is also used therapeutically for the treatment of skin disorders.

Ultraviolet A (UVA rays)

These rays have the wavelength of the order 320 to 400 nm. About 99 percent of these radiations from the sun reach the Earth’s surface. The UVA radiations are not only harmful to humans, but they also enhance the effects of UVB rays. Most of the UVA radiations are weaker and dies out at some time from birth. 

What happens to your eyes when you are exposed to sun rays?

human eye looking at sun

The time span for which you look toward the sun also matters while discussing the harmful aspects of the sun rays. You will not go blind after just looking at the sun instantly. Researchers have divided this period of effectiveness by sun rays into six different stages. 


The most damaging rays in the sunlight are the UV rays. The first stage of impairment will begin when the UV rays make contact with the eyes. This is the start of the damage to your eyes from the harmful aspects of rays.


The cornea cells of the eye start burning and causes a blister. It cracks the eye, just like when the skin gets a sunburn. The second stage is called Photokeratitis. If you have reached this step, then you should consult a doctor. 


After step two, your eyes will start getting irritation and burning sensation. This is a slow step and stays for a longer time. 


After irritation in the eyes, the retina starts releasing chemicals. This chemical destroys the tissues of the human eye. This aspect of the retina is because of the overstimulation of light. However, at this step, you can also cure this by consulting a doctor. If the tissues are sufficiently damaged, it leads to partial blindness.


This is the extreme step and induces permanent blindness in human eyes. The macula is the smallest portion of your eyes, located near the center of the retina. The damage of the macula cannot be recovered and is the prime reason for blindness.

What are the symptoms of eye damage?

If you are looking at a bright thing and your eyes are hurting, it is a sign of eye causality. Ophthalmologists have labeled the following as the main symptoms of illness in the eyes. 

  • Your eyes hurt continuously.
  • Your eyes are swallowing
  • Your vision is blurred, or you feel dimness.
  • Your eyes feel gritty or are twitching.

Which Helmets are best for usage to stare at SUN?

Welding helmet for solar eclipse

As I said, a helmet with shade 12 or more is necessary for working in the sun. As many different helmets are available in the market, not all have the same quality or shade colors. Most common welding helmets have the shade numbers 11 or 10. According to an article by Mary Constantine, “About 90% of the welding helmets used by welders are not an alternative of eclipse glasses”.

Before choosing a welding helmet for working in the sun, you must know your helmet’s welding shade clearly. If your helmet does not suites working in the sun, then you can buy a new one. My article on “Best welding helmets for money” will definitely help you in choosing a helmet that can protect your eyes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you stare at an eclipse using a welding helmet?

A welding helmet is a better option to look at an eclipse than by using goggles in limited circumstances. But the shade number of helmets matters the most in this type of scenario. A welding helmet with a shade number of 11 or higher is best suited for viewing the eclipse. Higher shade numbers are even better for choice. 

Can you look at the sun using a telescope?

This is a very bad idea. Since sun rays are already bright enough to hurt your eyesight, if you use binoculars or a telescope to view the sun, then your eyes can get hurt. All of these devices use magnifying glasses in their production. You can light a fire using sun and magnifying glass. So, it would be best if you never looked at the sun with any magnifying instrument.

What shade is best for viewing the sun?

 For looking at the sun, you should choose a welding helmet of shade number 12 or more. Since sun rays contain UV rays that can distort the vision, choosing a higher number for welding helmets is necessary. 


Working in the sun or looking toward the sun directly is common in the welder’s life. In this article, I have cover all the information you require for staring toward the sun or looking at the eclipse with a welding helmet on. Even exposure to sun rays for a longer duration can be very harmful to an individual. So, you must take proper care while working in the sun or staring at an eclipse.

Hello Everyone, I am James from Kentucky and been into this welding fiasco for 13 years in that time I have worked as a private welder and did most of the auto restoration work. In this recent, COVID-19 outbreak I decided to start a welding blog and share welding tips along with product reviews.

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