Q. How are lasers classified?
A. Lasers are classified by whether or not they have the possibility to cause damage to biological tissue.
Class I Laser- Cannot cause any biological tissue damage
Ex: Compact disc players and laser printers
Class II Laser- They have the potential for optical hazard if viewed directly or for a long period of time
Ex: Bar code scanners
Class III Laser- Medium power, require control to prevent from viewing directly into beam. This class is subdivided into Class IIIa and Class IIIb
Class IIIa- no hazard if viewed only briefly by the bare eye, but still should never be directed towards the eyes
Class IIIb- can be hazardous if viewed directly, also if reflected and viewed off of a surface
Ex: Laser pointers
Class IV Laser- Can cause injury to the eye regardless if it is directed straight at the eye or reflected off of a surface.
Divided into two groups in the health care profession:
1. Surgical- cuts tissue
2. Therapeutic- heals tissue
Ex: Surgical lasers, therapeutic laser