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Retinal sensitivity to damage from short wavelength light


A GROWING body of literature attests to the deleterious effects of long term exposure to light1–8. To define more critically the differences between thermal and photochemical effects, we have exposed the retinae of rhesus monkeys to eight monochromatic laser lines from 1,064–441.6 nm. Thermal damage to the retina is to be expected for the 1,064-nm line since the photopigments are not involved and energy absorption takes place predominantly in the melanin granules of the pigment epithelium and the choroid. Although data on pathogenesis are not yet available, we found some interesting differences in retinal sensitivity in going from the near infrared to the blue wavelengths in the visible spectrum.

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HAM, W., MUELLER, H. & SLINEY, D. Retinal sensitivity to damage from short wavelength light. Nature 260, 153–155 (1976).

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