Could a laser like the Fraxel damage an eye?

I had a fractional laser done on my face to remove pigmentation. I was given a cream to numb the skin for about an hour and the dermalogist's nurse did the actual laser treatment under supervision. I'm a 58 years old woman and a week later I had a hemorrhage in one of my eyes. The same doctor prescribed an antibiotics. A week later I develop floaters and flashing lights in the same eye. Is it a coincidences that all these happen right after the treatment? The doctor did not use any shields to protect my eyes. I have also gone to a eye specialist for my eye problem. Should I go back to the same dermalogist for my next treatment? I have been seeing him for my skin problems for years and done a few other laser treatments at his skin clinic. Lim from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Unless a laser beam actually hits an eye, it can’t damage it. Eye hemorrhages (scleral – the white part) are common occurrences. At our office, if we are working with a Fraxel laser on the face (not on the eyelids), we use external shields – either the soft, flexible sheilds or the ones that look like little plastic cups, depending on what our patient perfers. So if there was no work on the eyelids themselves and your eyes were closed, the beam or laser tip can’t hit the eye. We use the sheilds so that if a patient suddenly moves when we’re not expecting it, no part of the laser or the beam will touch the eyeball.


At our office, if we are actually working on/over the eyelid skin, then we use internal shields which look like small plastic or metal contact lenses. We numb the eyeball with ophthalmic drops before putting them in. We do this because if a patient accidentally opened their eyes at the wrong moment, we don’t ever want the laser itself or the beam to touch the eyeball.


There is one laser that, in my opinion, should never be used close to the eye area and that is an Nd:YAG laser. Some doctors disagree with this, but there are case reports of serious eye problems with this laser close to the eyes.


There are many things that occur close together in time that aren’t related at all. If you get your car engine repaired and one week later you have a tire problem, the engine repair probably didn’t cause the tire problem. Hope this makes sense.    Dr. I


Read Dr. Irwin’s article on Tips to Get a Great Laser Treatment.


Learn more about Fraxel lasers.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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