Answer to Question #10764 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Pregnancy and Radiation — Exposures to embryo/fetus

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:

Q

I'm an ophthalmologist doing my vitreoretinal fellowship. I have been using 526 nm double frequency Nd:YAG laser for retinal treatment since I got pregnant (now 32 weeks). I am exposed every day for about four hours. Is there a risk? It's a little late to be asking, but I just found out that I could get in touch with experts in this field.

A

Congratulations on your pregnancy. It is never too late to ask a question, especially if the answer will reduce your concern about the well-being of your fetus. The laser is nonionizing electromagnetic radiation in the visible light range. There is no way that your fetus would be exposed while in the uterus. The use of the laser will not increase your risk for birth defects or miscarriage which is 3% for birth defects and 15% for miscarriage, the background risk for healthy women with no family history for developmental or reproductive problems.

Robert Brent, MD, PhD

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 5 August 2013. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.