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Old 06-04-2012, 01:43 AM #1
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Default Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

Last week I started assisting in research at my school, and have been working quite a bit with a red diode laser. The wavelength is 660 nm and the power is around 100 mW. The label says it's a Newport 370-RC if that helps.

Anyway, the people I'm working with gave me some basic safety instructions, but they never mentioned goggles. I found a pair lying around but they make the laser images completely invisible, not much help when I need to align the beam.

I've been very careful to never shine the beam in my eye, but I have spent a lot of time looking at the laser's image at the laser source and on lenses, irises, mirrors, paper, and dull walls.

Since the first couple of days I've become worried and subsequently felt that my vision is somewhat unclear and unfocused. However, I haven't been getting a lot of sleep and my head as a whole feels a bit hazy; I also wouldn't be surprised if I my paranoid personality was giving me placebo. Still, I'm really concerned and was hoping to get feedback. I've read that laser damage usually causes blind spots, and I definitely don't have any patches of poor vision, it just feels less clear as a whole. Is this something that could feasibly happen from my laser exposure?

Thanks!


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Old 06-04-2012, 02:16 AM #2
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Default Re: Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

It would have made a blind spot, if you're really worried see a retinal specialist
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:09 AM #3
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Default Re: Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

Thanks for the response! Is there any way a laser like this could cause damage to the cornea or lens?
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:26 PM #4
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Default Re: Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

Not really - the cornea and lens are transparent, and therefore do not absorb the light.

Just don't look into the beam or any direct reflections, and you'll be fine.
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:38 PM #5
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Default Re: Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

Only wavelengths outside the visible light spectrum cause damage to the cornea and lens (Pretty much what Cyparagon is saying). So if it was a green laser putting out a lot of IR, then slight chance of a cataract, but that's if it hit you in the eye and it would be because of the IR, not the green.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:36 AM #6
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Default Re: Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

Thanks for the responses. I'll try to get more sleep and stop worrying so much and hopefully I'll feel better.
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:58 AM #7
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Default Re: Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

Your eyes should probably itch like if you were to stare at a arc welder for a while. Cut potatoes on the eye lids are supposed to be good for curing that but it sounds like your placeboed out.
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:11 AM #8
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Default Re: Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad32 View Post
So if it was a green laser putting out a lot of IR, then slight chance of a cataract
Nah, near IR passes right through just like visible does. It's not a problem (for the cornea anyway) until 1400nm or so if I remember correctly. Even if it was absorbed, the damage threshold for the cornea is much higher than that of the retina. Also, the light on the cornea isn't focused like it would be on the retina.

According to the MPE graphs on wikipedia, provided the wavelength is in the mid or far IR region, you can sustain a 100mW 5mm beam indefinitely without damage (although I certainly wouldn't try it.) If the exposure is a second or less, this value can be up to 500mW.
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Old 06-05-2012, 06:56 PM #9
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Default Re: Unfocused vision from 100 mW diode laser in lab?

When I shine the laser at a wall or a power sensor, for example, it can be quite bright and wash out my vision a bit like I've been looking at a bright lamp or something. I know diffuse reflections are supposed to be harmless at that power, but is the brightness a sign of alarm?
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