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Future's so Bright I've Got to Wear Shades...

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In past articles, we discussed the diseases that can affect the eye. Now that you know what might happen if you do not take care of our eyes, let’s explore the ways in which you can protect them and reduce your risk of damage.

Protective Eye Wear In the Treatment Room
In today’s world of ever increasing numbers of biohazards such as MRSA, VRSA, and H1N1 that we may be subjected to on a daily basis working with clients, it pays to take greater precautions to protect our health. We can protect our eyes by wearing safety glasses or goggles when performing extractions or hair removal. Simple, clear safety glasses can be found in beauty supply catalogs, online, and even at your local hardware store. Prices for safety glasses can range from 89 cents to over $100, and goggles can range from $5 to $50. Laser goggles and safety goggles can cost $150 to $300 per pair. Price is determined on the protection level of the eyewear.

If you are working at close range, you are going to need magnifier glasses. Our magnifier lamps just aren’t enough, especially if you have a busy practice. In my experience after the first few weeks of use, the bolts or springs become loose and the lamp often ends up falling down on your client’s head after the first few weeks of use anyways. A good magnifier headset or magnifying glasses will cut eyestrain down considerably. Headsets come in all magnifications ranging from 1.2x to 3.5x; some come with interchangeable magnification lenses and some even offer a light. Magnifier headsets reduce eyestrain and also offer a level of protection against any debris or fluids that may find their way into your eyes during hair removal or facial procedures. Magnifiers range in price from $15 to over $100 and can be found in catalogs from electrolysis suppliers, at professional trade shows, online at optical solutions companies, and at craft or hobby stores.

For those technicians who are working with laser hair removal or facial treatments, there are several types of eye protection designed specifically for you. Unprotected laser exposure may result in eye injuries including retinal burns, cataracts, and permanent blindness.

OHSA (Occupational Health & Safety Administration) requires a business using lasers to determine the maximum power density, or intensity lasers produce when workers are exposed to laser beams. Based on this information, lenses must be selected that protect against the maximum intensity of the laser. The selection of laser protection should depend upon the lasers in use and the operating conditions. Workers with exposure to laser beams must be furnished with suitable laser protection. When lasers emit radiation between two measures of light blocking capability, lenses must be provided that offer protection against the higher of the two intensities.

When choosing safety glasses or goggles for use with lasers, proper optical density (OD) must be determined to provide appropriate protection. The ability of a lense to filter out a specific wavelength or wavelength range is called its optical density. Optical density ranges from zero to 10, lenses for laser protection should range from five to nine. For example, OD:6 would allow only one millionth of the original light to be transmitted through the filter lens. These high levels of protection are often needed because of the power of the laser, as well as the human eye's ability to further focus the power of the beam on the retina. DVO (Diffuse Viewing Only) is designed for protection from diffuse laser radiation. This eyewear is designed for visitors and personnel who are not directly exposed to laser radiation. They are offered in styles ranging from full goggle to safety glasses design, which may offer adjustable temples, ratchet hinges, molded in side shields, and brow guards.

LGT (Laminated Glass Technology) is for serious protection from exposure to lasers. This glass, dielectrics (any insulating substance with high polarized density) and self-healing plastics are combined to maximize visibility, minimize weight, and provide impact resistance. This type of eyewear usually meets all international standards. No metal hinges are used on LGT eyewear.

Glasses or goggles should offer optimal protection from Nd:Yag, Erbium, and Holmium lasers, and provide excellent viewing and natural color recognition. Although many lasers are similar in power and design, their wavelengths may differ. For this reason, laser operators must not use protective eyewear interchangeably among different lasers. Experts also suggest that if you are working with Class 3B or 4 lasers, you should get an eye exam prior to assignment to any laser activity. Eyewear manufacturers, by law, must put the specific wavelength and optical density on the eyewear.

Other factors that are important in the selection of eye protection are proper fit, comfort, and visual performance. Eyewear that is not comfortable or is difficult to see through is not likely to be used and therefore increases the risk of exposure.

So how does laser eyewear work? Absorptive technology literally absorbs the wavelength of the laser radiation, while allowing the non-laser wavelengths to pass through the lenses. There are usually two different absorptive technologies: dyes infused into polymeric filters or mineral glass (LGT) and Dielectric technology, which reflect laser radiation.

Laser glasses and goggles can range in price from $30 to over $700. Some companies offer models that can accommodate prescription lenses. You can find a vast variety of styles online or through your laser supplier.

Protective Eyewear Out of the Treatment Room
Protecting your eyes is a constant job. On the job protection like goggles, magnifiers, and laser eyewear will not do the whole job. Make sure that your eyes are protected from UVA and UVB rays with proper sunglasses, too.

In prehistoric and historic time, Inuit peoples wore flattened walrus ivory "glasses," looking through narrow slits in order to block the harmful reflected rays of the sun. Sunglasses made appearances in ancient Rome and China, too. Emperor Nero was reported to use polished gems to view gladiator fights. Thin panes of smoke quartz were used to reduce glare. In the 12th century Chinese judges used these early smoke quartz sunglasses to hide their expression when they interrogated witnesses. Sunglasses as we know them, used for sun protection, did not make an appearance until 1929. Sam Foster first sold these sunglasses on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, N.J., to beach-goers to protect their eyes from the bright summer sun. In the late 1930s sunglasses became polarized with the use of Polaroid filter process, and with that addition, movie stars and musicians of the time began to wear them. This cultural phenomenon caused more of the public to wear sunglasses to be ‘cool’ as well as for UV protection.

Most of us choose our sunglasses for style; over 300 million pairs are sold each year in the U.S. alone, but sunglasses are a very important part of good eye health. Ultraviolet radiation causes cataracts, macular degeneration, and melanoma of the eye – so make sure you check for UVA/UVB protection when choosing sunglasses. When buying sunglasses, you should always check the label. If the standards set forth by the Center for Devices and Radiological Health in the FDA has been met, the label will list a code listing of “99.5% UV Blocked.” This is a good standard for UV protection.

Shades and tints of sunglass lenses are generally designed to affect the visible light hitting your eyes, not the ultraviolet light. Be sure the lens tint is uniform, not darker or lighter in spots, and the tint should not be too light. Pink, blue, or purple tints are purely cosmetic and are poor light blockers. Different colors are often used for different sporting activities, while the best color for everyday use is brown.

Polarized sunglasses are primarily used for their ability to block glare. Drivers, fishermen, boaters, skiers, golfers, bikers, and joggers tend to use polarized sunglasses. However, being polarized does not enhance their level of UV protection. Wraparound sunglasses offer the best eye protection from UVA/UVB rays as they prevent the sunlight from hitting your eyes from the side. It is a well known fact that the sun's rays are stronger in the winter than in summer, so keep your sunglasses handy.

Your job as an aesthetician or hair removal specialist relies on good eyesight, so it is very important to keep your eyes healthy. Regular checkups with your eye doctor and using the proper protective eyewear can keep your eyes healthy and bright.

Nadine Toriello is the owner of the All About You Day Spa, a 3,000 square foot facility, in Key West, Fla. She is a licensed and practicing aesthetician, licensed body wrap specialist, aesthetics educator for Monroe County Adult Education Program, owner/educator of Keys To Esthetics, a CEU provider in Florida, and is a biofeedback therapist. As a hair removal specialist in Florida, she averages almost 800 Brazilian waxes and over 2,000 brow waxes a year along with the other services she provides. She has written articles for DERMASCOPE Magazine and Les Nouvelles Esthetiques and Spa magazines, in addition to being quoted in many articles for beauty industry publications covering topics ranging from marketing strategies and product sampling to MRSA and melanoma. To contact Nadine, please e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Read 1958 times Last modified on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 15:17

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