Ocular injuries from laser accidents

David H. Sliney

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations


Ocular injuries resulting from exposure to laser beams are relatively uncommon since there is normally a low probability of a relatively small-diameter laser beam entering the pupil of an eye. This has been the accident experience to date with lasers used in the research laboratory and in industry. A review of the accident data suggests that at least one type of laser is responsible for the majority of accidental injuries that result in a visual loss in the exposed eye. This is the q-switched neodymium:YAG laser. Although a continuous-wave laser causes a thermal coagulation of tissue, a q-switched laser having a pulse of only nanoseconds duration disrupts tissue. A visible or near-infrared laser can be focused on the retina, resulting in a vitreous hemorrhage. Examples of laser ocular injuries will be presented. Despite macular injuries and an initially serious visual loss, the vision of many patients recovers surprisingly well. Others may have severe vision loss. Corneal injuries resulting from exposure to reflected laser energy in the far-infrared account for surprisingly few reported laser accidents. The explanation for this accident statistic is not really clear. However, with the increasing use of lasers operating at many new wavelengths in the ultraviolet, visible and infrared, the ophthalmologist may see more accidental injuries from lasers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsBruce E. Stuck, Michael Belkin
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes
EventLaser-Inflicted Eye Injuries: Epidemiology, Prevention, and Treatment - San Jose, CA, USA
Duration: Jan 29 1996Jan 30 1996


OtherLaser-Inflicted Eye Injuries: Epidemiology, Prevention, and Treatment
CitySan Jose, CA, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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