Background: Light or electromagnetic radiation may damage the neurosensory retina during irradiation of photopolymerizing resinous materials. Direct and indirect effects of irradiation emitted from polymerisation curing light may represent a severe risk factor for the eyes and the skin of the lamp operators, as well as for the patient's oral mucosa.
Methods: Bovine superfused retinas were used to record their light-evoked electroretinogram (ERG) as ex vivo ERGs. Both the a- and the b-waves were used as indicators for retinal damage on the functional level. The isolated retinas were routinely superfused with a standard nutrient solution under normoglycemic conditions (5 mM D-glucose). The change in the a- and b-wave amplitude and implicit time, caused by low and high intensity irradiation, was calculated and followed over time.
Results: From the results, it can be deduced that the irradiation from LED high-power lamps affects severely the normal physiological function of the bovine retina. Irradiations of 1,200 lx irreversibly damaged the physiological response. In part, this may be reversible at lower intensities, but curing without using the appropriate filter will bleach the retinal rhodopsin to a large extent within 20 to 40 s of standard application times.
Conclusion: Constant exposure to intense ambient irradiation affects phototransduction (a-wave) as well as transretinal signalling. The proper use of the UV- and blue-light filtering device is highly recommended, and may prevent acute and long lasting damage of the neurosensory retina.