Protective equipment for laser safety generally means eye protection in the
form of goggles or spectacles, this includes special prescription eyewear using
high optical density filter materials or reflective coatings (or a combination
of both) to reduce the potential ocular exposure below MPE limits. Some applications,
such as use of high power excimer lasers operating in the ultraviolet, may also
dictate the use of a skin cover if chronic (repeated) exposures are anticipated
at exposure levels at or near the MPE limits for skin.
In general, it is recommended that other controls be employed rather than reliance
specifically on the use of protective eyewear. This argument is predicated on
the fact that so many accidents have occurred when eyewear was available but not
worn. There are many reasons cited for this, but the most common is that laser
protective eyewear is often dark, uncomfortable to wear and limits vision.