September 2016
Volume 57, Issue 12
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Awareness of the Medical Community about the Ocular Hazards of Laser Pointers
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Nicola G Ghazi
    Ophthalmology, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Sulaiman Mohammad Alsulaiman
    King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Abdullah Aoun Alqahtani
    Dammam University, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
  • Ahmed Mousa
    King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Nicola Ghazi, None; Sulaiman Alsulaiman, None; Abdullah Alqahtani, None; Ahmed Mousa, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  None
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science September 2016, Vol.57, 5855. doi:
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    • Get Citation

      Nicola G Ghazi, Sulaiman Mohammad Alsulaiman, Abdullah Aoun Alqahtani, Ahmed Mousa; Awareness of the Medical Community about the Ocular Hazards of Laser Pointers. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):5855.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : Laser pointers are commonly used in lectures by physicians. In recent years, there has been increasing number of ocular injuries due to high power handheld laser pointers. The objective of this study is to assess the awareness of physicians and optometrists about the ocular hazards of laser pointers.

Methods : A cross-sectional, Internet-based anonymous survey of 11 questions was distributed via email and social media to physicians in various specialities as well as optometrists.

Results : The survey was completed by 290 respondents. One hundred three (35.6%) of respondents were ophthalmologists, 128 (44.1%) were practicing a medical speciality, 30 (10.3%) were in a surgical speciality, and optometrists comprised 6.2% (18) of respondents. About 67% of participants use laser pointers during lectures and 90 individuals (46%) use their own laser pointer. The laser beam colour most commonly used is red (76%) followed by green (21.1%). Out of 194 respondents who use laser pointers, 159 (82%) do not know the power of the pointer they use and 80% never checked the power before using it. One hundred sixty eight of 290 respondents (58%) think that laser pointers are not safe as far as the eye is concerned while 75 (26%) respondents think they are safe and 47 (16%) do not know. Sixty six percent (193) of respondents know some of the hazards of laser pointers. Most respondents 263 (90.7%) do not know the power limit below which the pointer is considered safe. Only 36 (12%) of respondents know the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) classification for laser safety. Sixty percent of respondent are aware of the availability of high power pointers in the market at low cost. Ophthalmologists are more likely to use laser pointers during lectures {73 of 96 (73%)} compared to non-ophthalmologists {121 of 194 (62.4%)}; P=0.02. Also, ophthalmologists are more likely to know the safety threshold (P=0.008), to know ANSI classification (P=0.007), to be aware of the availability of high power pointers at low cost (P=<0.0001) and to know some of the hazards of laser pointers (P=<0.0001).

Conclusions : Conclusion: While the awareness about hazards of laser pointers is generally reasonable among the medical community, lack of awareness of some critical information related to the safe use of laser pointers is evident. More detailed knowledge is required in order to improve the overall awareness as well as the safe use of laser pointers.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.


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