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Old 09-23-2014, 02:58 AM #1
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Unhappy Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

Please excuse anything that might be incorrect in here, I do not know much about powerful lasers or the damage they can cause

I was at an outdoor (under an overhang) event on Saturday, when I rapidly turned around to stare at the dot of a laser cutter. The machine had no shielding and instead the person was trying to handout safety glasses, but I turned around quickly not knowing it was there and looked at it. Right after I saw it, I closed my eyes and turned the other direction as I already know the damaging effects of a laser. The laser itself was blue, and from looking around on here I believe it was a 1W 445nm laser, however I'm not too sure as they said its max was engraving wood and it could not cut metal. When I looked at it, it was in the process of engraving wood (with a lot of scattered light) and I was probably 10 or 15 feet away. It was not reflected directly into my eye, I just saw the very bright dot (and the surrounding light) before I quickly looked away.

For the rest of Saturday I had a medium headache and minor light sensitivity, so I wore sunglasses for the rest of the day. Sunday I felt much better, the headache was gone, but the top/back of my eye had a very small dull pain. Today, Monday, my eyes feel a little itchy in the back and they still have a small amount of light sensitivity, so I try to look away from looking directly at lights. Overall, the physical appearance of my eye hasn't changed at all, and I do not have any burn spots in my eye. The only real reason why I am worrying is the power of the laser, and my eyes are itchy/have a small dull pain in the back and I still am slightly sensitive to light.

Does it sound like I may have damaged my eyes, if so how severe? In the chance that I have to go to the optomologist, can I wait several days for an opening in my schedule, or can I make the damage worse if I wait?

Thanks!


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Old 09-23-2014, 03:23 AM #2
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

If the laser was 10 feet from you and you looked right into a diffuse reflection (the dot) off a non reflective material then chances are you are fine. But if you caught some scattered direct laser light you might be in trouble.

People have different thoughts on the capacity of diffuse reflections to damage your eyes, some say they are dangerous some say they are not, I believe both are true, it depends on the distance, as a diffuse reflection isn't collimated it scatters very quickly resulting in a very low power density.

When I used my first high powered laser (200mw greenie), looking at the dot 50 feet away I had itchy eyes and a dull ache, but I became accustomed to it and it no longer bothers me.

Also if it was outside in daytime your pupils will be pretty small allowing very little laser light in.

That said you should still see an optomologist, sooner the better because a bleeding retina can further any damage and if everything fine you will have peace of mind

Im not a medical professional but I have had a few scares and came out fine.
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Old 09-23-2014, 03:24 AM #3
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

No you have not damaged your eyes. Unless you stare at the dot for extended periods of time in which it will then probably cause damage. This does NOT mean that you should try it though.

I shouldn't be much of one to talk really as I have looked at a 3w dot at very close ranges as my goggles are OD3 so I can barely see anything when trying to engrave.

I do wear my goggles pretty much all the time though just a few times when my eagerness overpowered my logic.

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But if you caught some scattered direct laser light you might be in trouble.
He said it was wood so it was diffused

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Old 09-23-2014, 03:31 AM #4
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

Any clue as to when the itchy/dull pain feeling on my eyes and light sensitivity will go away?
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Old 09-23-2014, 03:41 AM #5
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

Speaking from experience, you should not be experiencing any kind of pain, especially not if you saw the dot from 10-15 feet, and it was a diffuse reflection (which it would be from burning wood).

Basically no different from being flash blinded from catching a glimpse of the sun. Very likely that the symptoms you experience, such as a headache, or sensitivity to light, are more psychosomatic than physical.

That said, if you are still seeing a blind spot/after image after it's already been a while (over an hour), get a professional opinion from an ophthalmologist.
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Old 09-23-2014, 03:45 AM #6
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

Great, thank you. Thats most likely the case, as most of the time I dont feel anything until I see bright light, which makes me remember it, so I'm probably just causing the problems from my own fear. Thats great news, I had been told that even looking at the dot of a class 3 laser would eventually cause me to go blind, so this definitely clears things up. Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2014, 03:46 AM #7
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

Quote:
Originally Posted by InfinitusEquitas View Post
Speaking from experience, you should not be experiencing any kind of pain, especially not if you saw the dot from 10-15 feet, and it was a diffuse reflection (which it would be from burning wood).

Basically no different from being flash blinded from catching a glimpse of the sun. Very likely that the symptoms you experience, such as a headache, or sensitivity to light, are more psychosomatic than physical.

That said, if you are still seeing a blind spot/after image after it's already been a while (over an hour), get a professional opinion from an ophthalmologist.
I agree. Are you photosensitive? If not no pain should be there.

It is probably just that damned dopamine causing anxiety! Don't worry about it man.
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Old 09-23-2014, 05:10 AM #8
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

dopamine makes you feel good, I think cortisol is a main hormone associated with stress. Either way being a hypochondriac is a pain
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Old 09-23-2014, 12:35 PM #9
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

Laser light is really no different to other light when it comes to power. A diffuse reflection of a 1W laser off wood from 10-15 feet is a LOT less light entering your eye than even a standard 40W lightbulb.
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Old 09-23-2014, 06:42 PM #10
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Default Re: Looked at dot of laser engraver (1W 445nm)

Actually an eye doctor would need to look inside your eye to say if you got burns (Which i am 99% sure you did not)-- the symptoms from several of posters and the OP may have nothing to do with the laser exposure- -- very likely less dangerous than watching a welder Arc welding- not a smart thing to do but we all have and AFAIk no perminate damage.

=one thing that I may know is your plans to stay at LPF must not be for long going by your choice of username--

duh

I, for one, appreciate new members who add thier info(like location) into thier profile AND places a 'Intro' thread about themselves in the welcome section before asking for help==but as you may view this as some kind of emergency I can see why you skipped those parts--

please also do your own search here and a google too
the is a long on-going thread by someone who was actually injuried and that is where you should have started.

here is the deal
any power even (<5mW) can be magnified >100 times by our eye's lens- must be a direct shot - the longest exposure you can get is about .25 seconds- it is not possible to look longer unless you are wacked out of some drug.- the average opening is about 7mm- so using those numbers and the divergence of the laser, the distance and its wavelength one can figure out the MPE- (Max Permissible Exposure)

but of course the most safe is one that is NEVER allowed to hit a person.

A crude rule of thumb-- if you peek at the sun-when you look away you see 'after-images'-- these go away soon- when you are lasered the same thing happens- you see after-images- and IF they do not go away for a long period( at most a few minutes) you may have gotten eye damage- A Dr. can look inside your eye with a special scope- see the thread and there you will find pics- of our members retina.

I doubt the itchy eyes, headaches etc are related to the laser engraver -=-WHO BTW is the person responsible to see all safe measure are taken when others are present.



good luck

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