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What factors should be considered when selecting specific eyewear?
1. Laser wavelength at which protection is afforded.
2. Optical density (OD) of the LSE for the wavelength being used. OD refers to the ability of a material to reduce laser
energy of a specific wavelength to a safe level below the MPE. It can be expressed by the following formula:
OD = log10(Ei /Et)
Ei = incident beam irradiance (W/cm2) for a "worse case exposure"
Et = transmitted beam irradiance (MPE limit in W/cm2)
Example: OD of 4.0 allows 1/10,000 of the laser light energy to be transmitted.
The required OD for any given laser can be determined by:
(b) consulting nomograms or tables (e.g., ANSI 136.1 guidelines), or
(c) consulting the laser manufacturer.
The OD of the LSE will decrease if the LSE is damaged. The damage threshold refers to the maximum protection that the
LSE will provide for at least 5 - 10 seconds following noticeable melting or flame.
1. Comfort of the design to enhance compliance.
2. Field of view provided by the design of the eyewear.
3. Absence of irreversible bleaching when the LSE filter is exposed to high peak irradiance.
4. Effect on color vision: the colored filter material may reduce color vision and contrast, creating additional hazards. For
example, certain LSE may interfere with visualizing monitoring equipment or detecting cyanosis during general anesthesia.
5. Impact resistance. LSE must be resistant to dust, heat, etc., so that they will not loose their effectiveness.
Practical Pearls in Laser Eye Safety
1. Laser warning signs must be placed at the entrance to laser operating rooms.
2. Access to the laser operating room should only be granted to those individuals who have been appropriately educated
in laser safety. Each laser facility must develop its own Safety Procedures to be enforced by an appropriately trained Laser
Safety Officer for the facility. Safety procedures should be in accordance with ANSI and OSHA guidelines (and others,
3. As LSE often looks alike in style and color, it is mandatory to check the wavelength and optical density imprinted on
each pair of LSE prior to its use.
4. Color coding of the laser handpiece and LSE may help to minimize confusion especially in facilities where multiple laser
wavelengths are available.
5. LSE should not move between laser rooms, nor should they be carried in lab coat pockets between use.
6. Broken lensLSE can be very expensive, so proper care and handling is mandatory. The integrity of the LSE must
beinspected regularly since small cracks or loose fitting filters may permit the laser beam to reach the eye directly.
7. The patient's eyes must always be protected from laser energy. If the patient is awake, appropriate opaque "mini"
goggles must be worn. Great care must be taken to avoid accidentally exposing the straps of the patient goggles to laser
light, since this can ignite them.
8. Whenever laser energy is used in the immediate vicinity of the eye (e.g. treating eyelids)Stainless steel eye shield
Plastic eye shielda stainless steel or lead eye shield should be positioned on the surface of the orbit after the application
of a topical ophthalmic local anesthetic. Plastic patient eye shields cannot be expected to withstand the thermal and
mechanical effects of pulsed lasers, and should never be used.
LASER SAFETY PAGE 3