Air Force Research Labs, Brooks Air Force Base, TX

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Air Force Research Labs, Brooks Air Force Base, TX

2007 - Wavelength dependence of ocular damage thresholds in the near-ir to far-ir transition region: proposed revisions to MPES

Zuclich JA, Lund DJ, Stuck BE.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology, 4241 Woodcock Drive, Suite B-100, San Antonio, TX 78228-1330, USA.
[email protected] 

This report summarizes the results of a series of infrared (IR) laser-induced ocular damage studies conducted over the past decade. The studies examined retinal, lens, and corneal effects of laser exposures in the near-IR to far-IR transition region (wavelengths from 1.3-1.4 mum with exposure durations ranging from Q-switched to continuous wave). The corneal and retinal damage thresholds are tabulated for all pulsewidth regimes, and the wavelength dependence of the IR thresholds is discussed and contrasted to laser safety standard maximum permissible exposure limits. The analysis suggests that the current maximum permissible exposure limits could be beneficially revised to (1) relax the IR limits over wavelength ranges where unusually high safety margins may unintentionally hinder applications of recently developed military and telecommunications laser systems; (2) replace step-function discontinuities in the IR limits by continuously varying analytical functions of wavelength and pulsewidth which more closely follow the trends of the experimental retinal (for point-source laser exposures) and corneal ED50 threshold data; and (3) result in an overall simplification of the permissible exposure limits over the wavelength range from 1.2-2.6 mum. A specific proposal for amending the IR maximum permissible exposure limits over this wavelength range is presented.

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Rats, mice, birds, amphibians and other animals have been excluded from coverage by the Animal Welfare Act. Therefore research facility reports do not include these animals. As a result of this situation, a blank report, or one with few animals listed, does not mean that a facility has not performed experiments on non-reportable animals. A blank form does mean that the facility in question has not used covered animals (primates, dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, pigs, sheep, goats, etc.). Rats and mice alone are believed to comprise over 90% of the animals used in experimentation. Therefore the majority of animals used at research facilities are not even counted.

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