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Informational Resources


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Diagnosis and Treatment of Laser Eye Injuries

Since their introduction in the mid 1950s, lasers have become ubiquitous in modern society. Laser is an acronym standing for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are an inescapable part of modern technology. Lasers are commonly used for civilian, military, and industrial purposes including distance measuring, welding, data storage and retrieval among others. In fact, the computers you are currently using almost certainly have a laser in the attached CD-ROM device. Low powered laser (class III) devices are some of the most commonly encountered in the form of check-out price sensors, bar code readers, DVD players, and laser pointers.

With their increasing use in everyday activities many safety questions continue to be raised. Prevention of laser injuries through an aggressive laser safety program is the best medicine. Fortunately, laser injuries appear to be fairly rare. When laser accidents occur, the eye and ocular structure are among the most frequent sites reported as injured.

Information on laser injuries is accumulating and databases are being developed that may give a better idea of the true extent of this problem. One excellent laser site is Rockwell Laser Industries LaserNet®. LaserNet ® has a very good confidential laser injury reporting form as well as many outstanding links on lasers and laser related safety information.

Unfortunately, there are few medical resources available outside the military for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic laser eye injuries. In addition, treatment for laser eye injuries is controversial. Current treatment options include IV and Oral corticosteroids, oral nonsteroidal agents, surgical interventions including vitrectomy and membrane peeling and traditional Chinese medicine. Most reports of both treatment and outcomes are anecdotal. Still, aggressive early intervention appears to be associated with better resultant final visual function.

Copyright © 2000 Retina and Uveitis Consultants of Texas, P.A. - Last modified: May 1, 2003