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Laser rangefinder induced retinal injuries

Chandra, P; Azad, Raj Vardhan

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Indian Journal of Ophthalmology: Oct–Dec 2004 - Volume 52 - Issue 4 - p 349
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Dear Editor,

We read with interest the well written article by Sunder et al regarding laser rangefinder induced macular holes.[1] Nd:YAG laser injuries are not uncommon and usually seen following exposure to class 3B-4 industrial, military and therapeutic medical lasers.[2] Varied retinal injuries and significant visual loss have been reported in a review of laser related eye injuries in the military.[3] This includes development of choroidal neovasculari-zation.[4]

It is well known that unprotected accidental exposure to lasers classified as class 3B (power output > 5mW) and above is hazardous to the eye. However, we emphasize the fact that not all laser range finders are dangerous as they range from harmless class 1 to hazardous class 4 lasers. It is notable here that approved laser pointers[5] are usually Class 3A or lower (maximum power output of 5mW) and cause lesser accidental retinal injuries due to lesser power and sudden reflex blinking shielding the beam. Then macular damage usually occurs on prolonged exposure by directly looking into the beam. With increasing use of such lasers, retinal injuries can be reduced by improving operator training, use of protective equipment design and following safety procedures with strict compliance.

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1. Sunder SK, Shetty N, Singh VK, Chaudhary VS, Sharma S. Laser range finder can cause retinal injury Indian J Ophthalmol. 2004;52:169–170
2. Sakaguchi H, Ohji M, Kubota A, Otori Y, Hayashi A, Kusaka S, et al Amsler grid examination and optical coherence tomography of a macular hole caused by accidental Nd:YAG laser injury Am J Ophthalmol. 2000;13:355–56
3. Harris MD, Lincoln AE, Amoroso PJ, Stuck B, Sliney D. Laser eye injuries in military occupations Aviat Space Environ Med. 2003;74:947–52
4. Roider J, Buesgen P, Hoerauf H, Schmidt-Erfurth U, Laqua H, Birngruber R. Macular injury by a military range finder Retina. 1999;19:531–35
5. Lamotte J, Fife J, Lee A, Hemenger R. The power output of laser pointers:do they exceed federal standards? Optom Vis Sci. 2001;78:525–38
© 2004 Indian Journal of Ophthalmology | Published by Wolters Kluwer – Medknow