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July 28, 1978

Laser Injuries

Author Affiliations

Public Health Service
Bureau of Radiological Health Food and Drug Administration Rockville, Md

JAMA. 1978;240(4):347. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290040025012

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To the Editor.—  Laser devices are being used increasingly in artistic and entertainment displays, such as laser art sculpture, discotheque displays, planetarium laser shows, and accompaniment to musical concerts, specifically rock concerts. This has raised serious concerns about hazards to the public and users of laser devices. The purpose of this communication is to alert the medical practitioners, specifically ophthalmologists, and request their help in locating and evaluating any cases of injury that may have resulted from exposure at a laser show.For visible laser radiation, biologic damage has not been established for power levels below 0.39 μW. For power levels up to 1 mW, eye damage from long exposure is possible. For power levels above 1 mW, injury is possible from brief, direct exposure; for example, argon and helium-neon laser beams with power levels from 2 mW to 17.5 mW can cause retinal lesions in test animals after 1-second