The 4 Classes of Laser

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Q. How are lasers classified?

A. Lasers are classified by whether or not they have the possibility to cause damage to biological tissue.


Laser Printer

Class I Laser- Cannot cause any biological tissue damage

Ex: Compact disc players and laser printers







Barcode Scanner

Class II Laser- They have the potential for optical hazard if viewed directly or for a long period of time

Ex: Bar code scanners









Laser Pointer

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





Surgical Laser

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


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