Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between Shade #3 and Shade #5 lenses in eye protection for glassblowing?

The standard VetroSafe lens provides a minimum of Shade #3-equivalent protection for UV, Visible and IR components of light. For most glassblowing work, this level of protection is adequate.

Some conditions may require a higher level of protection, and we currently offer a Shade #5 add-on in the form of a split lens: our Click2Shade system. Click2Shade augments the base lens with small high-strength magnets, enabling a second lens to be attached that increases the total strength of the lens combination to that of a Welding Shade #5-equivalent protection.

Shade #5 is often recommended in glassblowing for the following reasons:

1) When working with dark colors of glass, such as cobalt blue and black: these colors glow more brightly when heated, which requires increased visible light attenuation, which is provided by a Shade #5 lens. Generally, if viewing your work piece causes "afterimages" in your vision, then you should consider upgrading to a darker lens (i.e., a higher shade number).

2) Large torch configurations (e.g. significant flame size and oxygen concentration): Working with higher intensity flame can cause brighter flaring and increased infrared light at the working point such that a Shade #5 may be preferred.

3) Long working hours: professional lampworkers may work for extended periods of time, e.g. 8 hours or more in a single day. If you experience eye fatigue from long working sessions, consider using a darker shade of lens.

4) Anyone with "sensitive eyes": This is a subjective aspect, but generally speaking if you experience eye fatigue or see "afterimages" after working, then it's probably a good idea to increase to a higher shade number of lens.

How do I know if VetroSafe has sufficient eye protection for flameworking?

Our lenses meet the standards for a minimum of Welding Shade #3 according to ANSI Z87.1-2020. Welding Shade #3 is recommended for medium intensity operations such as torch brazing, cutting, and soldering. Each pair of VetroSafe glasses is delivered with a lens certification report providing the lens transmission spectrum between 200 nanometers (UV) to 2000 nanometers (infrared), which may be used to compare the performance of our lens with other products on the market.

We recommend using a lens with at least Welding Shade #3 protection for any glass flameworking activity.

Do you have IR-blocking glasses for hot glass work?

The VetroSafe lens blocks 95% of average infrared radiation between 700nm to 2000nm according to ANSI Z87 Shade R4. The lens can be used for both flameworking and hot glass without needing to change eyewear.

I am currently using another lens brand which I find to be too blue/purple in tint. What color is the VetroSafe lens?

The VetroSafe lens has a blue-colored mirror coating on the front surface, however when looking through the lens it provides a neutral gray tint with no apparent coloration.

I am currently using another brand of lenses which I find to be too dark. Is VetroSafe lenses also dark?

The VetroSafe lens is optimized to provide the highest possible brightness while still passing the requirements of ANSI Z87.1 standard for a Shade #3 lens. The average visible light transmission is approximately 15%. If the lenses were any lighter than this, then they would not meet the Shade #3 requirements.

I compared VetroSafe to standard didymium glasses (or standard polycarbonate sodium flare glasses) and the VetroSafe lens is darker. Why?

Standard didymium glasses do not block infrared radiation, which is an invisible light emitted by the torch flame and from heated glass material. VetroSafe lenses block 95% of average infrared light, therefore this comparison is not between equivalent products. The addition of infrared-blocking dyes results in an overall darkening of the lens. If the VetroSafe lens was made any lighter then it would have insufficient infrared protection. Because infrared protection is invisible and does not cause immediate damage or pain to the eyes, it is possible to over-expose your eyes to infrared light without knowing it. For optimal eye protection it is recommended to use infrared blocking lenses even when working at lower temperatures with soft glass materials.

I need to wear prescription glasses. Can the VetroSafe lens be made in prescription?

We plan to launch a prescription lens product later this year. Please sign up to our email list for announcements. Until then, the OTG (over-the-glasses or "fitover") type of frame is recommended.

Where do VetroSafe lenses come from? Are you reselling a product made by someone else?

VetroSafe is an independent brand that is not affiliated with any other eyewear or lens company. VetroSafe lenses were designed 100% in-house using our own proprietary design software and are manufactured through our lens factory partner.

Can I get VetroSafe lenses mounted in my own frame?

Custom eyewear manufacturing is currently not available, but is planned to be offered in the future. Please subscribe to our email list to be informed of any new product announcements.