As many of you know, I keep banging on about eye safety when working with lasers. Many of the systems we use in aesthetics/dermatology are Class 4. That means they emit more than 500 milliwatts. With modern diode and Q-switched/picosecond lasers, the power can range from a few thousand watts to millions of watts per pulse.
So we MUST wear the appropriate laser safety eyewear to protect our precious peepers. As yet, we don’t have bionic replacements – regardless of what Steve Austin promised us back in the 70’s…
Yesterday, I was calibrating a QS Nd:YAG laser. I checked the output of the 1064nm wavelength first, wearing my standard issue OD7 safety glasses.
When I completed that bit, I stopped for a pee and a cup of tea…
On my return, I decided to calibrate the 532nm line. I fired the first shot into my meter detector head and saw an intensely bright green light. I had forgotten to put my glasses back on! I should not have been able to see that.
There’s no way I could not have seen that flash – it was almost painfully bright. I immediately knew what I had done – or, not done!!
My point is, after more than 35 years of calibrating and using lasers, I can still make a simple error. Fortunately, it was only one pulse and may have damaged part of my retina. I can’t ‘see’ any problems in my vision yet, but I won’t know till my next retinal scan.
So, please be aware that these things can happen to anyone. Even a crusty, old, salty sea-dog like myself!!