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Can I look at the dot of my 1.2W 532nm without goggles?

Elyekim

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I have proper safety goggles for it, but I'm curious if damage only occurs at this power when the beam directly hits the eye. I've glanced at the dot while shining it on darker surfaces which isn't as bright as a white wall a couple of times already. How cautious should I be? I have a sanwu striker saber.
 

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You should still be cautious and wear the goggles when handling lasers of this output power at all times. As you can already tell, there are some highly reflective surfaces out there that even the diffused reflection of the beam can cause temporary/permanent eye damage. And in this case we're talking about 1.2W of 532nm, a wavelength very close to the peak spectral sensitivity of our eyes. Stay safe :)
 

Eracoy

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There is always going to be a hazard of reflection from some angle. Most surfaces, especially indoors, can reflect at least some of the beam. With proper goggles I have been protected the times that I notice the dimmed dot get brighter for a moment, which was at least a partial reflection. The dot itself is a very real danger too. Like Constandinos97 said, the diffuse reflection can be damaging. A dark surface might absorb a lot of it, but still be bright enough to do damage nearby. Also, a surface like plastic can be dangerous when it starts to melt. I've noticed that even black matte surfaces quickly become reflective if they start to melt or bead up.

Moral being, that is a dangerous instrument as you already know. Since you already have proper protection, you should use it, yes. It doesn't take a direct hit or even much diffuse light to cause at least some damage. If you're ever looking to do something with the beam holding still, you could also build a beam stop to put behind it and safely absorb the dot. Cool laser, by the way!
 
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paul1598419

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I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with the previous statements as diffuse light can't cause damage at all to your eyes. These green lasers look brighter to our eyes because they are more sensitive to the green spectrum of light, but all diffuse light sources are the same in that they decrease as the inverse square of the distance you are from them. This is quite different from specular reflections as those remain collimated and can cause damage to your eyes.

I have a 520nm 1100 mW and a 532nm 1300 mW laser and I look at their diffuse reflections all the time without goggles and have never received any damage to my eyes. They can appear very bringht depending on how far away they are, but you should be fine as long as you know you cannnot get a specular reflection.
 

Elyekim

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I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with the previous statements as diffuse light can't cause damage at all to your eyes. These green lasers look brighter to our eyes because they are more sensitive to the green spectrum of light, but all diffuse light sources are the same in that they decrease as the inverse square of the distance you are from them. This is quite different from specular reflections as those remain collimated and can cause damage to your eyes.

I have a 520nm 1100 mW and a 532nm 1300 mW laser and I look at their diffuse reflections all the time without goggles and have never received any damage to my eyes. They can appear very bringht depending on how far away they are, but you should be fine as long as you know you cannnot get a specular reflection.
I've noticed that my eye(s) can get sore or sometimes have a little bit of a short-term burning sensation if I look at the dot on a white wall. Is that damage to my vision or is it just eye-strain?
 

Elyekim

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There is always going to be a hazard of reflection from some angle. Most surfaces, especially indoors, can reflect at least some of the beam. With proper goggles I have been protected the times that I notice the dimmed dot get brighter for a moment, which was at least a partial reflection. The dot itself is a very real danger too. Like Constandinos97 said, the diffuse reflection can be damaging. A dark surface might absorb a lot of it, but still be bright enough to do damage nearby. Also, a surface like plastic can be dangerous when it starts to melt. I've noticed that even black matte surfaces quickly become reflective if they start to melt or bead up.

Moral being, that is a dangerous instrument as you already know. Since you already have proper protection, you should use it, yes. It doesn't take a direct hit or even much diffuse light to cause at least some damage. If you're ever looking to do something with the beam holding still, you could also build a beam stop to put behind it and safely absorb the dot. Cool laser, by the way!
I'm very careful about reflective surfaces. I accidentally ran the dot across a reflective surface while looking at it. Shocked, but I only had a tiny little after image which faded away in minutes. My vision appears to be normal after 10 hours.
 

Immo1282

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I've noticed that my eye(s) can get sore or sometimes have a little bit of a short-term burning sensation if I look at the dot on a white wall. Is that damage to my vision or is it just eye-strain?
Eyestrain. Wouldn't be any different if you stared at a lightbulb for a few seconds. Damage is from parallel rays (collimated beams for example) being focused on the retina by the eyeball.

I accidentally ran the dot across a reflective surface while looking at it. Shocked, but I only had a tiny little after image which faded away in minutes. My vision appears to be normal after 10 hours.
This is precisely why "being careful" simply is not good enough. Accidents happen. Indoor, always always wear appropriate laser safety goggles. If you drop your laser, or it bounces off a glass window, or mirror and you permanently destroy a retina you'll regret it for ever.
 

Eracoy

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The damage from diffuse light drops off very quickly, you're right. I don't mean to imply you in particular got hurt from it. The dangerous scenario I had in mind, not that you would do it, was staring at the dot up close. If someone looked up close at the dot, like when burning something, diffuse reflections would be bright enough to cause damage up close.
 

RedCowboy

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I remember reading about blue light hazard when the 1w blue was new and what I read was a 1w 450nm was safe to view at 4 feet when the beam stop was a white wall, as long as you know there's nothing reflective.

I have looked/glanced but not stared at the spot of a 1w 520nm 8 feet away and have not had any trouble that I am aware of, it seems no worse than the sun reflection off a chrome bumper or another cars rear window which can leave after images, however glancing a 1w green on my wall 8 feet away leaves no after image, blue you have to be extra careful with because it will not trigger your eyes bleaching effect that protects you, but green will cause temporary flash blindness ( as well as do real damage if viewed incorrectly ) so it appears to trigger the bleaching effect and I have not seen that from looking at the spot 8 feet away.

I had an eye exam once where the slip lamp caused me temporary flash blindness, everything was mostly black then colors came back but not like they should be then a minute later all was ok, my eye Dr. said don't worry just enjoy the pretty colors...........Never have I pushed my eyes like this or anywhere into flash blindness by viewing a laser spot.

This is my opinion but anything you do over 5mw I can not say is safe and you do so at your own risk.

---EDIT---
As far as safety YES wear your laser safety glasses, I sometimes bounce off a large mirror on one wall to another wall but I wear my laser safety glasses when setting the laser up, once secured I will view without the safety glasses but only the beam in the air and the diffuse reflection ( the spot ) that's on a non reflective surface and can not produce a specular or even partially specular reflection and only from a safe distance in the case of a 1w green 8 feet away or more and only for a short look with the laser secure.
 
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