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P.H. Scharper, J. Bezek, D. Panigrahi, Z. Segal, D. Goldberg, W. Deegan; Phototoxicity From a High-Intensity Non-Laser Portable LightSource . Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2003;44(13):4942.
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Purpose: There have been many accounts in the literature regarding retinal damage from lasers. But recently several manufacturers have marketed non-laser high intensity portable clip lights which attach to key chains. This light uses a blue Sapphire crystal to produce a bright, non-deteriorating solid state beam of blue light. This light beam reportedly can be seen from a mile away. We will describe the potential of serious retinal injury from exposure to this high intensity light beam. Methods: We report a case of an individual whose brief exposure to this high intensity sapphire light resulted in retinal phototoxicity. Results: Visual acuity dropped to 20/25. On dilated exam, there was a discreet area of subretinal fluid just inferior to the fovea. This area of fluid did NOT leak on repeated fluorescein angiography. The patient was started on Acular and, within two months, the fluid had resolved. After five months of follow up, the vision has improved to 20/20, but the patient still complains of a central scotoma. Conclusions: Retinal damage from high-intensity non-laser sapphire light beam has not been previously reported in the literature. This case raises public health concerns, since most people are unaware of the potential of permanent retinal damage. In addition, none of the manufacturers’ product information includes a warning of possible phototoxicity. We feel an obligation to disseminate this information in order to prevent similar occurrences.
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