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August 1962


Arch Ophthalmol. 1962;68(2):156-157. doi:10.1001/archopht.1962.00960030160002

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When newspapers recently announced the exciting story of a space-research laboratory having projected a light beam onto the moon by means of a laser, many ophthalmologists realized that this was the same device which has been talked about in connection with photocoagulation of the interior of the eye.

Laser is the acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Like its sister operative, called maser in the microwave field, lasers have the useful properties of coherent emission and high peak power output. These qualities could find usefulness in pinpointing a lesion in the retina or choroid just as they could in illuminating a lunar circle one mile in diameter.

The principle of lasers and masers has been applied only in the past four or five years. At present, the instrument of potential interest to ophthalmologists is a rodshaped ruby crystal (consisting of chromium oxide

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