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Retinal injuries from handheld lasers: An updated report.

Report
Authors Jörgen Thaung
Cesar Lopes
Stefan Löfgren
Publisher Strålsäkerhetsmyndigheten
Place of publication Stockholm
Publication year 2015
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Language en
Links www.stralsakerhetsmyndigheten.se/Gl...
Keywords laser, laserpekare, lasersäkerhet, laserskador, laser pointer, laser safety, eye damage
Subject categories Neuroscience, Optics

Abstract

Background Handheld lasers, or powerful laser pointers, continue to cause eye injuries around the world. In 2013 the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) published a report on eye injuries from handheld lasers (Löfgren et al. 2013). Objectives The purpose of this study was to update the previous report by examining the medical case histories of retinal injuries during the recent 2-3 years. The main focus was misuse of continuous wave handheld lasers leading to eye injuries. Inclusion criteria were primarily laser exposures using visible and near-infrared radiation (400-1400 nm) and short durations (0.05-1 s). Comparisons of the newly described laser exposures with exposure limits and eye injuries need to be re-examined. Also a timeline overview of the identifiable organic damages needed to be developed. Results A total of 47 new cases were found in the scientific literature. Unfortunately, many of them were described with insufficient data regarding the laser exposure. Analysis of estimated laser exposure were performed in eight cases and compared to international laser exposure limits. In four of the eight cases the exposures were estimated to be more than 100 times higher than the limits, and in one case the exposure was estimated to be 300+ times the safety limit. We found an increase in the number of reported cases with severe retinal injury. Need for further research We have previously identified topics for future research. For example, a national database of laser incidents, studies of photochemical effects, how visual aids can influence retinal exposure, treatments of laser retinal damages, secondary injuries (e.g. by glare), and long term or permanent functional deficits. In this report we have, in addition to the above topics, proposed a study to investigate the increased risk of retinal damage in cases when green handheld laser pointers are leaking infrared radiation.

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