Laser Safety Resources and Considerations
INFORMATION FOR LASER SAFETY – USING LASERS IN THE US AND WORLDWIDE
Acuity’s laser sensors put out about the same power levels as the laser pointers that have become quite common, but they are still subject to safety regulations. These devices are potentially hazardous only when the beam enters the eye directly or through optics such as mirrors or focusing lenses. Scattered light or light striking the skin is not classified as hazardous.
U.S. regulations presently divide laser devices into “classes” based on the power of the laser, whether it is a visible or IR laser, and the potential exposure duration. Class I devices are eye-safe under any circumstances. The maximum permissible output varies with the laser light frequency and other factors. Class II devices are visible lasers with output of less than 1 milliwatt. Classifications apply to both pulsed and continuous wave lasers, with various formulae for determining class.
For cw lasers, Class IIIa lasers are visible lasers with output power of more than 1 mW but less than 5 mW, as measured through a 7 millimeter aperture. Class IIIb lasers are those with output above 5 mW, or any laser outside the visible frequency band that is not unconditionally eye safe. Class IIIb extends up to 500 mW output power.
Regulations for light-emitting devices are governed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under 21 CFR 1040.10, PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR LIGHT-EMITTING PRODUCTS.
HELPFUL LINKS FOR LASER SAFETY