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14377Laser Eye Safety

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  • tfrohaly
    Aug 1, 2003
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      My last words on this topic...

      I urge anyone contemplating using a laser
      in a robotics project to first learn about
      laser eye safety. A good starting point is
      the widely referenced website at:

      http://www.repairfaq.org/sam/lasersaf.htm#saftoc

      One of the interesting calculations you will find
      there is a comparison of the intensity of light
      falling on the retina from staring directly at the
      Sun vs. staring directly into a 1mW laser (most
      laser pointers are more like 5mW...). Turns out
      that the laser can have an intensity on the retina
      150 times MORE than the Sun. So if you believe
      that staring into the Sun can cause eye damage,
      you should have no problem believing that a low power
      laser can also damage the eye. And infrared lasers
      are worse, because they don't cause you to blink so you
      tend to get longer exposures than with visible light.
      (Power density is not the only factor determining
      when damage occurs, but is is a significant factor).

      There is a lot of great information on the web,
      including more formal documentation like:

      http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/laserhazards/index.html
      or
      http://www.princeton.edu/~ehs/laserguide/laserguideTOC.htm

      Tim.
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