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W D Gibbons, R G Allen; Retinal damage from long-term exposure to laser radiation.. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 1977;16(6):521-529.
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The maculae of rhesus monkeys were exposed to an argon-ion lazer operated in the TEM00 continuous wave mode at a wavelength of 514.5 nm. Both ophthalmoscopic and histopathologic evaluations of exposure sites were obtained. Threshold (ED50) values were obtained for 0.5, 5, 30, 120, and 1,000 sec. exposure times. Presence of minimum visible lesions was assessed ophthalmoscopically at both 1 hour and 24 hours after exposure. With increasing exposure times, a 24 hr. lesion-appearance criterion resulted in ED50 values too low to be consistent with a thermal damage mechanism. In contrast, exposure to neodymium laser radiation at a 1,060 nm. wavelength for 120 sec. produced only ED50 values consistent with those associated with thermal injury. These results suggest that the damage mechanisms for long-duration exposures to visible light may involve photochemical processes initiated by the interaction of visible light with the retinal photopigments.
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