laser pointer eye protection

Discussion in 'Laser Eye Surgery' started by Larry Moss, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. Larry Moss

    Larry Moss Guest


    I've been trying to find information about the safety of laser pointers.
    I've found lots of discussions in this group from the past but none that
    specifically address my situation. (Not surprising. What I'm trying to do
    is rather odd.)

    I want to use a small laser pointer on stage during a performance. The one
    I have is class 3a, 630-680 nm, < 1 mw. I know from what I've read that a
    class 3a laser can damage eyes, but it looks like the power is low enough
    on this that a normal blink reflex should be sufficient. But, as this
    would be intentionally pointed across a stage, directly at a person (me), I
    don't feel comfortable with the idea that if it happens to cross my eyes,
    I'll blink fast enough. It's one thing if this were a random occurrence,
    but it *will* be pointed at me. I have to assume that at some point it
    will hit my eyes. Therefore, I need eye protection.

    There is a clear balloon in front of my face between me and the person that
    would be holding the laser. The red laser spot is seen through the
    balloon, but I assume the balloon does something to weaken/diffuse the
    beam. I don't know if this makes a sufficient difference.

    Would a pair of sunglasses or cheap, readily available safety goggles be
    sufficient for such a low power beam? Or do I really want something
    completely dark (welder's goggles) or real laser safety goggles?

    If it helps put things in perspective, I also juggle and eat fire. At face
    value, this seems like no big deal compared to those. But I want to make
    sure I'm right about that. I spent a lot of time learning about the
    dangers of those before I picked them up also. I just want to know what
    I'm potentially getting into.
    Larry Moss, Apr 11, 2007
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  2. Probably not a big hazard, but you might consider getting a tinted lens
    that cuts down the red wavelengths, like a blue tint. The main thing is
    not to stare at the laser when it's shining, with or without protection,
    just to be sure.

    w.stacy, o.d.
    William Stacy, Apr 11, 2007
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  3. Larry Moss

    Neil Brooks Guest

    Is that more of a South Beach or an Atkins diet?
    Neil Brooks, Apr 11, 2007
  4. Larry Moss

    anewstone Guest

    anewstone, Apr 12, 2007
  5. Larry Moss

    Larry Moss Guest

    Thanks for that. At a minimum, I'll plan on a blue tinted pair of sunglasses.
    Looking forward to other comments from others.
    Larry Moss, Apr 12, 2007
  6. Larry Moss

    Larry Moss Guest

    The key paragraph for me from that article is this one:

    Previously, he determined red laser pointers to be quite safe. "I tested
    different powers up to five milliwatts and could not create recognizable
    damage in the human eye with the red laser pointers," he explains. "So, at
    least a transient exposure to red laser pointers' light is only of trivial

    That seems to disagree with other things I've read online that expressly
    say that any class 3a laser can cause eye damage. I guess I'll keep
    reading. I'm new to this stuff and don't know which sources to trust at
    this point.

    I appreciate the reference. Thanks.
    Larry Moss, Apr 12, 2007
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