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Is my corneal burn due to my work with the laser machine?

Q: I am a doctor. Six month ago, I started working with a cosmetic laser and IPL e-light device, which caused severe eye pain and headache right after working on the machine. I used to work 1-6 hours a day, by that machine on my patient's skin. I used to wear a protecting goggle, but later we found that the goggles did not protect the light lengths of that device. Later I developed herpetic keratitis with stromal invasion. Is the trauma to my eyes, relevant to my eye problem? Have there been cases like this before? I haven’t had any previous episode of herpetic keratitis.

A:Laser itself can cause corneal burns severe enough to cause severe pain if you are not wearing proper glasses. Even ordinary ultraviolet light in sun reflected from snow etc. or sun tan light can cause severe burns depending on extent of burns. I have seen and treated cases like that; however, it does not cause herpetic keratitis. This is an infection from childhood - herpes simplex virus like you get in cold sores around lips, when you get fever. Later after some trauma like this or when your immune system is low, it can reactivate itself and needs prompt treatment otherwise you can end up with permanent visual loss as a result of corneal scarring.


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