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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Comparison of violet versus red laser exposures on visual search performance in humans
Author(s): Fred H. Previc; Leon N. McLin; Brenda J. Novar; William Kosnik
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Paper Abstract

Previous research suggests that the visual impairment of a violet laser is not highly localized on the retina, because the lens absorbs most short-wavelength visible light and partly retransmits it as a diffuse fluorescence at ~500 nm. The present study investigated whether a 405 nm violet diode laser more greatly impairs visual search performance in humans than does a 670 nm red diode laser, depending on target eccentricity. Participants had to locate a square among 15 diamonds spread throughout a visual search display while being exposed to a violet or red laser beam that was either continuous or flickering and presented either on-axis or 33° off-axis. Whereas the continuous on-axis violet and red lasers had comparable effects on search performance when the target was located near the center of the beam, the violet laser disrupted processing of eccentric targets more than did the red laser. The search decrements were reduced for both lasers when the beams were flickered or presented off-axis. Both the bluish appearance and greater spatial spread of effect of the violet laser suggest that the unique impairment caused by a violet laser beam derives from its induced lens fluorescence.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 May 2005
PDF: 5 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 10(3) 034003 doi: 10.1117/1.1925207
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 10, Issue 3
Show Author Affiliations
Fred H. Previc, Northrop Grumman (United States)
Leon N. McLin, Northrop Grumman Corp. (United States)
Brenda J. Novar, Northrop Grumman (United States)
William Kosnik, Northrop Grumman (United States)


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