Background: It is dangerous, although not uncommon, in some clinical settings for laser operators to place gauze underneath external patient protective eyewear when performing laser procedures. Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate 4 lasers, commonly used for aesthetic facial procedures, on 3 materials commonly found in the clinical setting. Methods: We performed tests with 4 lasers: the 2940-nm erbium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Er:YAG) laser, the 532-nm potassium titanyl phosphate (KTP) laser, the 1064-nm neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) laser, and a Lumenis UltraPulse 10,600-nm carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Their effects were evaluated on dry gauze pads, wet gauze pads, and adhesive external eye shields. Results: When exposed to the 2940-nm Er:YAG and 10,600-nm CO2 lasers, dry gauze smoked on the first pulse and ignited on the second pulse, whereas no damage occurred to the wet gauze or adhesive eye shields after 8 and 4 pulses, respectively. No damage to any material or the underlying surface was seen after 30 pulses of the 532-nm KTP laser. After 2 pulses of the 1064-nm Nd:YAG laser, the adhesive eye shields sparked; dry gauze smoked after 1 pulse, but no damage to the underlying surface occurred after 30 pulses. Conclusions: The results of our study highlight the inherent flammability of gauze when exposed to lasers commonly used to address aesthetic facial concerns. Although moistened gauze conveyed more protection than dry gauze, these results do not guarantee patient ocular safety. Therefore, we do not recommend the use of any gauze under protective eyewear.
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