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November 2001

Concerns About Laser Pointers and Macular Damage

Arch Ophthalmol. 2001;119(11):1731-1732. doi:

In reply

Zamir and Chowers regard the conclusions in our study as potentially misleading. It is interesting that they have misquoted our conclusion.

We chose to conduct a controlled clinical study to determine if exposing the human retina to light from a laser pointer would cause a decrease in visual function as determined by visual acuity and Amsler grid testing. In our experiments, fundus biomicroscopy, color fundus photography, and fluorescein angiography, both before and after exposure, provided the necessary documentation to determine if light from a standard laser pointer caused clinically recognizable damage to either the retina or the retinal pigment epithelium. Subtle changes in the retinal pigment epithelium were seen in 2 of the 3 study eyes. Had these subtle changes not been documented before the laser pointer exposure, we might have speculated that they represented damage caused by the laser pointer. In fact, no clinical evidence of damage could be recognized.

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