Page 102 - Lasers and IPLs in Medical/Aesthetic Applications v1.2
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Chapter 1 – Fundamentals of Medical/Aesthetic Lasers and IPLs v1.2
The Importance of Laser-IPL Safety
All laser and IPL systems are essentially ‘very intense’ light sources. The range of wavelengths (colours) they output is huge from ultra-violet through the visible spectrum up to infra-red energy. Some of these wavelengths are invisible but can be felt and heat (infra- red) while the UV light will stimulate melanocytes in the skin to induce a tan.
Some of these wavelengths can pose a potential hazard to the skin or eyes. In this section we will examine these hazards.
A good source of laser safety information may be found here. Regulatory Requirements – CE Mark and FDA
Most countries have a system of regulatory requirements which medical/aesthetic lasers and IPLs MUST satisfy to ensure that they are safe to use. In the EU this is the CE or CE Medical Mark. Your equipment must show this Mark by law, otherwise it cannot be used legally within the EU. Your insurance will be invalid if your equipment does not have the correct CE Mark. You must have a ‘Certificate of Conformity’ for each piece of laser/IPL equipment, otherwise you may fall foul of the law. These may be supplied by your supplier or distributor.
In the US, and many other countries, FDA ‘approval’ is required (although the FDA do not actually ‘approve’ anything!) This is a similar (but not exactly equivalent) safety mark to the CE Mark in Europe.
It is up to you to check that your equipment satisfies local and national regulations with the appropriate certification. Be aware that many Chinese manufacturers/suppliers offer ‘fake’ certificates and CE Marks – these are illegal in most countries. Again, it is up to you to check. Hire an expert if you want to be sure. Most Laser Protection Advisers can help in such situations.
Detection of light by eye
The eye is designed to focus light onto an area where the light energy is converted into signals which the brain then interprets. The retina is the part of the eye that detects the light through electrochemical reactions.
The retina is made up from two types of detector cell known as the ‘rods’ and ‘cones’. The rods are smaller, at around 2 μm (microns = 2 millionths of a metre or 0.002 millimetres) diameter, and are the more sensitive, but are not able to differentiate between different colours of light. The cones on the other hand are larger, at around 6 μm, and can readily distinguish light colour, but require much more light for a vivid and detailed image.
Because of the focussing properties of the eye, the retinal hazard region is a particularly hazardous region of the spectrum, and note that it does not just cover the visible portion of
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Chapter 1 LEVEL A Fundamentals of Lasers/IPLs
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