Looking at bright lights is just not pragmatic, with or without other eye issues.
You can look over there now and again to examine for fire, and it does not take a lot of angle to make the sharp bright light appear behind the gantry or laser head.
I have worked around people welding when installing servers and other electronics, and even the bounce reflections from shiny surfaces can make your eyes feel like they have sand in them.
Had to explain why I was wearing sun glasses to a safety inspector once and he was trying his best to say no. That is always going to be a problem when the people making or enforcing the rules have never done the job.
ANYWAY - avoid going to the light, until it is the only option left.
Any light coming through the glass is in the visible spectrum and harmless, it might cause a little bit of eye fatigue but that is it. If you really have to look at the incandescent coming off of your material you might want to try some regular sunglasses be as helpful as anything.
Yeah, the safety glasses are only for people who have machines with holes in them (intentional holes, but still holes means escape vectors for bouncing lasers). Our Basics are completely enclosed, no laser is getting out - but yeah, if you can’t stop yourself from looking at the bright light, break out your sunglasses!
What I have done usually if I am watching a cut is angle my head so it just hides the bright light but shows just beyond it. An occasional glance will not be a problem but staring at any super bright light can cause a problem. If you close your eyes and can still see the light then that is too much.
Complete SWAG, but some folks (myself included) are sensitive to the residual smoke/odor of certain types of wood, as well as other materials. Walnut and cherry are no problem, but maple and birch will make my eyes sting a bit. YMMV, of course.
Good a place as any for a PSA.
Not all wood is safe. Fumes are fumes, but I mean safe as in using and handling. The list below seems to be overly cautious, which is not a bad thing. For instance, all are an irritant, which is understandable if standing in the smoke trail, but we are not doing that (hopefully).
It is a good listing. On the very bottom of the site they explain some of the abbreviations used.
Just so you know, almost all materials are opaque to a co2 laser beam, including glass and acrylic, so unless you are peeping through the passthrough slot there is no way you will be getting eye damage from the beam.
As others have mentioned, the light emitted at ablation point is incredibly bright, which could be what is causing you discomfort. When watching, I usually try to occlude the impact point of the beam with the laser head itself to prevent eye fatigue. Or I watch through my web cam…
Either way, you shouldnt need laser safe glasses. They wont really change anything. Sunglasses might help moreso here
All of what’s been said already. You’re not getting laser beam light in your eye but bright light can cause discomfort and that’s a good sign to look at something else for a while. I can’t keep myself from staring at the pretty beam either, it’s hypnotizing. But bright!