This section has been reviewed and updated as needed: April 2014

Since infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths are normally invisible to human eyes, they possess a higher hazard potential than visible light lasers. Therefore, the use of laser eyewear that will protect against the exposure is required at all times during laser operations.

Infrared Lasers

  1. The collimated beam from a Class 3 laser should be terminated by a highly absorbent backstop wherever practicable. Many surfaces which appear dull visually can act as reflectors of IR.
  2. A class 4 laser beam should be terminated in a fire resistant material whenever practicable. Periodic inspection of the absorbent material is required since many materials degrade with use.

Ultraviolet Lasers

  1. Exposure to UV should be minimized by using shield material that attenuates the radiation to levels below the appropriate MPE for the specific wavelength.
  2. UV radiation causes photochemical reaction in the eyes and the skin, as well as in materials that are found in laboratories. The latter may cause hazardous by-products such as ozone and skin sensitizing agents. The use of long-sleeved coats, gloves, and face protectors is recommended.