New Laser and IPL Protective Eyewear Standards
Both laser and IPL protective eyewear saw standards published in 2021, with the familiar EN207 (laser) to be eventually replaced with the EN ISO 19818‑1:2021, and EN169 replaced with EN ISO 12609-1:2021.
Technically EN ISO 19818‑1:2021 replaces ISO 6161:1981, which was never widely adopted and resulted in the regionally developed European standards EN 207 (laser operators) and EN 208 (laser service engineers) and the United States standard ANSI Z136.
So how will that affect my laser or IPL protective eyewear?
As long as your laser or IPL protective eyewear is CE marked, which it should be, it won’t.
IPL protective eyewear conforming to the new standard will have markings that will have a reference to the new standard EN ISO 12609-1:2021, and with an F and/or B scale number from 1 to 6, with the highest number providing the greater protection against white light and bluelight respectively. Information supplied with the IPL protective eyewear will include an explanation of the markings.
Laser protective eyewear conforming to the new standard will now have the optical density for each wavelength/range of wavelengths instead of an ‘L’ or ‘LB’ number, and laser emissions are now referred to in terms of ‘C’ (continuous), ‘P’ (pulsed), ‘S’ (short pulsed), and ‘U’ (ultra-short pulsed), instead of ‘D’ ‘I’ ‘R’ and ‘M’. The markings will also reference the new standard EN ISO 19818‑1:2021.
If EN ISO 19818‑1:2021 is accepted Internationally, and it already has in Europe and Canada, laser protective eyewear manufactured under the new standard will have just the one set of specifications marked on the laser protective eyewear. Currently both the EN207 (Europe) and the ANSI Z136 (United States) standard specifications appear. Though the United States have recently updated their own standard, the additional details that are now required to be included in the markings for ISO 19818‑1:2021 will make it challenging for laser protection eyewear manufacturers to provide both.
More details for those who are more interested:
The EN ISO 19818‑1:2021 standard is applicable to laser protective eyewear intended to provide protection against accidental exposure to laser radiation ( 180 nm to 1 mm), and specifies the requirements, test methods and marking. This standard is also applicable for patient protective eyewear during medical laser procedures except for treatment in the periorbital area. Laser protective eyewear intended for adjustment work on lasers (EN208) are included in the scope of this standard and are marked in the same way as other laser eye protectors, but selection of appropriate eyewear for a specific application is a choice of the user. Laser protective filters used as viewing windows in laser equipment machinery or incorporated into optical instruments such as operating microscopes and loupes that may be used for deliberate viewing of laser radiation as part of their function are outside the scope of ISO 19818-1.
A guidance document addressing selection and use of personal eye and face protection against lasers is currently under development and will form a guide to users of laser protective eyewear described in ISO 19818-1. It should be noted that EN207:2017 Personal eye-protection equipment — Filters and eye-protectors against laser radiation (laser eye-protectors), is still valid, i.e. has not been withdrawn, and guidance for the selection and use of laser eye-protectors can be found in Annex B of this standard.
- EN ISO 19818‑1:2021 Eye and face protection — Protection against laser radiation. Part 1: Requirements and test methods.
- ISO 12609-1:2021 Eye and face protection against intense light sources used on humans and animals for cosmetic and medical applications. Specification for products.
- EN207:2017 Personal eye-protection equipment — Filters and eye-protectors against laser radiation (laser eye-protectors).
- BS EN 208:2009 Personal eye protection — Eye protectors for adjustment work on lasers and laser systems (laser adjustment eye protectors).
- EN 169:2002 Personal eye-protection — Filters for welding and related techniques —Transmittance requirements and recommended use.
- ISO 6161:1981 Personal eye-protectors — Filters and eye-protectors against laser radiation.
- ANSI Z136.7-2020 Testing and Labelling Of Laser Protective Equipment.