Laser Safety Standards in Brief

Standards most Applicable to Medical and Cosmetic Purposes

Laser equipment

BS EN 60825 1:2014 Edition 3 Safety of laser products

This document contains values for maximum permissible exposures (MPE) for the eye and skin. Exposure to laser light above these values will result in harm. Worked examples of Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance (NOHD) are also included in this standard.

The laser classification system is also introduced here. There are several classes of laser ranging from class 1 (safe, e.g. laser in CD player) to class 3B and 4 (used for medical and cosmetic therapy).

Class 3B laser product
normally hazardous for direct beam exposure
viewing diffuse reflections is normally safe
output lower than 500mW

Class 4 laser product
can produce hazardous diffuse reflections
may cause skin injury
potential fire hazard

Class 3B and Class 4 lasers (the ones used for most medical and cosmetic treatments) represent a significant risk to the eye and skin.

Class 1C laser product

This is any laser product which is designed explicitly for contact application to the skin. The laser may be as powerful as those mentioned above, but the product is sufficiently well designed to ensure that during operation, the eye hazard is prevented by engineering means. This might apply to a laser device intended for hair removal, where sensors at the laser 'head' prevent operation unless direct contact with the skin is maintained.

IPL equipment

BS EN 60601-2-57:2011 Medical electrical equipment - part 2-57 particular requirements for the basic safety and essential performance of non-laser light source equipment

This standard documents the classification system for IPL devices. The classification ranges from "exempt" to "RISK GROUP 3" which pretty much all IPL devices used for treatments such as hair removal fall into. Risk Group 3 devices represent a significant hazard to the eye or skin. Standard warning labels and safety instructions are also described in this document.

Eyewear standards

Standards also exist for safety eyewear.

BS EN 207 and BS EN 208 for laser eyewear
BS EN 8497-1 for IPL eyewear.

The laser standard can be confusing for the layman but in light of reports of dubious imports, it does at least guarantee some level of quality and assurance for the user.

The IPL eyewear standard has so far gone largely ignored as suppliers have already invested in eyewear conforming to generic standards or welding eyewear standards.

LASER EYE HAZARD

LPA for health and beauty clinics using laser/IPL LPA for education, research, industry, communications LPA for hospitals, dentists, vets and clinics LPA for education, research, industry, communications etc. LPA for laser tattoo removal LPA for education, research, industry, communications etc. LPA for medical and cosmetic uses for laser/IPL

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