The word LASER comes from the acronym in English Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation that means in Spanish: light amplified by the emission stimulated of a radiation.
Laser light is nothing more than a highly organized and coherent light with special properties. The theoretical knowledge of the operation and precautions that must be taken in the management of the laser in ophthalmology, helps us to take advantage of this technology, apply it properly and not harm our patients.
According to the European classification of pointers, there are four categories with subgroups and only 1 and 2 and their subgroups (1, 1M, 2 and 2M) are safe and do not need protection.. It suffices with the reflex action of the eyelid to protect itself from its effects on the eye.
The other two categories, 3 and 4, need protection because they can cause vision impairment (burned in the most noble tissue, the retina) and skin burns according to their power and exposure time.
It is important to emphasize that not only the laser has risks for the vision. Although we all know that light is energy, we are not usually aware of them.
Looking directly into sunlight can also cause damage to the retina, because despite not being a laser, it is a very powerful light. In ICR we have had patients with luminous retinal lesions caused by falling asleep on the beach with half-opened eyes (the lens acts as a magnifying glass and this condenses the light and energy of the sun and burns the retina), patients who have practiced " sun gazing" "(Dangerous practice of looking directly at the sun for a few minutes with the false belief that it increases energy levels and decreases appetite) or professionals with special risk jobs, such as those who carry out welding processes, for working without the protective elements against harmful radiation that causes retinal damage.