Title: Probabilistic laser safety: ocular damage models for Q-switched neodymium and ruby lasers.
Author: Smith PA
Journal: Health Phys 1994 Apr;66(4):414-9
Affiliated institution: Royal Air Force Institute of Aviation Medicine, Farnborough, Hampshire, UK.
While there have been no documented cases of eye injury from laser hair removal at this time, the possibility exists. This article suggests a damage model for laser safety parameters, using Nd:YAG and ruby lasers as examples.
International standards for the protection of the eyes from the hazards of laser radiation define a nominal ocular hazard distance as a distance beyond which an individual would not be expected to suffer any adverse biological effects. The nominal ocular hazard distance, and any associated hazard zones, are calculated using a deterministic technique. This technique does not consider the likelihood that an eye will be irradiated, or the probability that if any eye is exposed, then some level of ocular damage will result. An alternative method of hazard assessment, without compromising safety, is to adopt a probabilistic approach in which the ultimate safety criterion is that the expectation of someone receiving ocular damage must be less than some acceptable risk level. An important element in this assessment is an ocular damage model, which predicts the probability with which a laser exposure will cause permanent eye damage. This paper describes a rationale for the use of the minimum ophthalmoscopically visible lesion as a threshold criterion for the development of ocular damage models. A brief review of existing ocular damage threshold data for Q-switched neodymium:YAG and ruby lasers is presented, and ocular damage models for these lasers systems are derived.