Ask anyone putting together their grow room setup and they’ll likely tell you about the many items they have on their shopping list, like High Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs, pH meters and pruners. However, what most people don’t prioritize nearly enough is the need to purchase top quality HPS glasses, as eye-safety is a big consideration in this kind of environment.
Sight is a precious thing, and within a typical grow room, there’s a very specialist lighting environment that plants just love. However, your eyes—not so much. While the initial effect of unprotected indoor gardening is most often a touch of squinting, the longer-term impact can be much worse.
High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Lights Explained
The reason why HPS glasses are required in the vicinity of working HPS lights has to do with their intensity. Unlike other types of grow room lights—like LEDs and Metal Halide (MH) lights—HPS bulbs emit a harsh yellow glow after they’ve warmed up to their operating temperature.
HPS bulbs emit both UV and infrared rays, meaning that they can cause major damage to your eyes if you don’t take steps to protect yourself.
HPS lights are among the most common types used in indoor growing and hydroponics, mainly because they emit light with a high spectral distribution and their characteristics are particularly useful for growers cultivating flowers and fruit.
How HPS Lights Compare to LED Lights
The most notable aspect of HPS lights is their intensity, which is why it’s not advisable to look directly into them for any length of time. Offering the perfect spectrum for flowering plants, HPS lights create much more heat than the newer kids on the block: LED lights.
When used in a confined space, HPS lights get so hot that they can significantly increase the room temperature, so ventilation or cooling measures are key. LED lights, while not as hot, emit much more in the way of UV light, so they require their own kind of specialist eye protection that is very different from HPS glasses.
How Your Eyes Can Be Damaged by HPS Lights
When you enter a grow room environment equipped with HPS lights, and you’re not wearing HPS glasses, the first sign impact on your eye health is discomfort. Almost instantly, your eyes will try to compensate for the intensity of the light by making you squint. This is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t quite right.
If you’re experiencing this kind of discomfort, sit up and take notice. Because while HPS lights don’t give off anywhere near the amount of UVA and UVB rays that LED lights do, they do emit UVC and infrared rays. It’s these rays that are causing distress and potential harm to your eyes. Needless to say, HPS glasses are absolutely worth the small investment it costs to buy them.
Even if you’re not looking directly into the HPS bulbs, prolonged exposure to HPS lights can result in temporary effects like dizziness, headaches and short-term problems with your sight. Indirect exposure over an extended period can also lead to longer-term or even permanent damage like cataracts and macro degeneration.
Providing the User With Color Perception
Another reason why HPS glasses are a wise investment for serious growers is the fact that they allow you to see and distinguish colors accurately. As we mentioned earlier, HPS lights give off a bright yellow light, and that can give all of your plants a very noticeable yellow tinge. Why is this a problem? Well, as growers know, being able to spot color changes is really important.
That’s because when your plants have mites or disease, spotting the problem earlier makes dealing with it that much easier. Good quality protective glasses are able to filter out imbalanced light spectrums so that you get a clear and precise view of the actual colors as they really are.
Effective Protection From Growing Debris
Though your grow room isn’t exactly a dangerous environment in terms of large objects flying about, keep in mind that when you garden either indoors or outdoors, small particles are constantly being generated as debris and waste. Especially when cultivating with tools, there’s a chance that some of these particles could get into your eyes. A good pair of HPS glasses is your best line of defense.
Accidents and mishaps happen wherever us humans go, so it’s not out of the question that fertilizer, soil or even plant matter could end up in your eye. Most kinds of gardening are hands-on, putting your eyes right in the danger zone, so it’s good to have a barrier for them—just in case.
Be Safe, Be Sensible & Be Protected
When it comes to your vision, you just can’t take chances. While indoor gardening is a stimulating and rewarding experience, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your sight. HPS glasses are super-affordable, highly protective, and they come with the added benefit of allowing you to see what you’re doing without irritation or discomfort.
Before we finish, it’s worth mentioning that if you’re spending a prolonged period in this kind of environment, it also pays to get your eye health checked out each year, just to make sure. An eye specialist will be able to monitor your eyes and spot the signs of anything serious that might be developing and get it treated early.
Ultimately though, if you invest in a quality pair of HPS glasses, the chances of you suffering eyesight damage drops to almost nil. So, if you’re still wondering whether it’s a worthwhile investment, just ask yourself - how much is your eyesight worth?
Good vision makes good sense.