Thresholds for retinal injury from multiple near-infrared ultrashort laser pulses.
Multiple-pulse lasers are routinely used in the laboratory for research, manufacturing, medical procedures, and in military applications. In order to provide a safe work environment for personnel using these lasers, safety standards have been established and have been in use for many years. These safety standards have addressed laser pulses of nanosecond duration and longer. Recently, safety standards have been updated to address laser pulses as short as 100 femtoseconds in duration. In order to tie these "ultrashort" laser pulses to hazard trends in currently established standards for multiple-pulse exposures with repetition rates less than several kilohertz, this experiment was conducted. Reported herein are minimum visible lesion thresholds in the paramacula of the primate retina using an 800-nm wavelength laser with 1,000 pulses per second, at 130 femtoseconds (fs) pulse duration. The minimum visible lesion (MVL) thresholds were determined at 1 h and 24 h post exposure for 1, 10, 100, 1,000, and 10,000 pulses and are compared with thresholds reported by other researchers. These new data are evaluated relative to the current safety standards for retinal exposure limits as a function of the number of pulses for femtosecond-pulse duration. Data from this study show that the retinal ED50 thresholds/pulse in the paramacula decrease by almost a factor of four as the number of pulses goes from one to ten and then decrease very little for an increase of three decades more in the number of pulses. The MVL-ED50 at the threshold decreased from 0.55 microJ for a single pulse to 0.15 microJ/pulse for 10 pulses and then only to 0.11 microJ/pulse for 10,000 pulses.
Cain, CP; Toth, CA; Noojin, GD; Stolarski, DJ; Thomas, RJ; Rockwell, BA
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