Laser therapy is extremely safe when basic protocols are followed by the laser operator and support staff. As with all therapeutic procedures, some element of risk is present through negligenceor accident. These hazards are easily prevented or reduced with safety protocols foreach application. Every clinic using a laser should have an individual trained in safe operation of laser therapy and regularly use a safety checklist. This individual (often the doctor), is the Laser Safety Officer (LSO).
Class IV Therapy Lasers emit both visible and invisible radiation.Protective eyewear is necessary for both Class III and Class IV lasers where irradiation of the eye is possible.
- Administrator of the laser therapy treatment
- Any other individuals in the room
Not all Safety Goggles are the same. The protective eyewear that came with your laser is manufactured specifically for the wavelengths emitted by the laser. Do not use protective eyewear from other manufacturers as they may not provide the appropriate level of protection.
Technical Specifications for proper usage include:
- Wavelength Specific
- Blocks 1064nm + 630-650 aiming
- Meets ANSI Safety Standards
Using Safety Goggle Correctly
Laser safety glasses are vital for eye protection in the presence of laser radiation. Since accidental laser radiation exposure can cause irreversible damage to the human eye, protective measures must not be taken lightly. Ensure that the eyewear has appropriate optical density for the wavelength of operation. Remove all reflective objects (such as rings, metal watchbands, and jewelry) prior to treatment with the laser. Indirect or direct eye contact with the laser beam or with scattered laser light from any reflective surfaces will cause serious damage, irreparable corneal and/or retinal damage, and possible blindness to one or both eyes. Do not allow any reflective object to fall into, or obstruct the path of the laser beam. Always wear protective eyewear. Any person present during the laser operation must wear protective eyewear.
Never look directly into the end of any therapy hand piece.
Never direct the laser light directly into the eyes, or direct the laser beam at anything other than the area to be treated with or without the correct Safety Goggles.
Do not remove the Safety Goggles until the administrator of the laser has turned off the laser or notified the patient that it is safe to remove them.
Safety Warning Signs
Lasers require the use of specific Warning Signs for the safe operations of each laser system Warning signs must be in view outside and inside the room where the laser treatment is being performed Warning signs must meet ANSI recommendations.
Laser Safety Checklist
Checklist for the Laser Operator and Laser Safety Officer
- Appropriate warning signs posted
- Access to laser and treatment area is secure and controlled
- Visually inspect and clean all optical connectors for dirt, debris, etc.
- Inspect laser for proper function
- Visually inspect and clean all Safety Goggles
- Safety Goggles available for all persons in Nominal Hazard Zone
- Extra Safety Goggles placed outside treatment room if necessary
- Sources of potential laser beam reflection and scatter controlled
- Treatment protocol established for patient
- Laser injury management protocol in place for accidental injury
- Document laser treatment and post-treatment outcome
- Do not apply to pregnant women.
- Do not apply over the Epiphyseal lines (joints) of children.
- Do not apply over an implanted device, i.e. a pacemaker. (pet micro chip OK)
- Do not apply over the thyroid gland, ovaries or testicles.
- Do not apply to patients who are taking photosensitive medications.
- Do not treat over any cancer/malignancy.
- Do not treat over an actively hemorrhaging area.
- Familiarity with safety shutoff devices on laser
- Eye protection, specifically supplied goggles
- Patient- goggles and/or eye shields
- Attending therapists within 3 feet of application
- Others such as pet owners, spouse, etc, within 3 feet
- Post the “Laser in Use” sign in appropriate location
- Consideration of therapy in a safe laser environment
Consider power dosage when treating over tattoos; use caution, as well with dark skin and/or dark hair. CW tends to cause more of a thermal effect at the surface, causing discomfort. Consider using pulsing.