Retinal toxicity after facial laser epilation

Rom J Ophthalmol. 2020 Jan-Mar;64(1):70-74.


A 39-year-old man presented to the ophthalmology emergency room complaining of decreased visual acuity and metamorphopsia on his left eye after undergoing Nd:YAG facial hair epilation without wearing proper eye protection. Fluorescein angiography showed a foveal staining initially, with an increase in foveal leakage over late phases. On optical coherence tomography, a subfoveal retinal pigment epithelial detachment with associated subretinal fluid and no signs of choroidal neovascularization or cystoid macular edema was observed. Observation with monthly follow-ups was adopted. By the fourth month, the subretinal fluid had already disappeared and visual acuity had returned to 20/20. Over one-year follow-up, the retinal pigment epithelial detachment experienced a decrease in its size. Conservative management may be a valid option in assessing accidental foveal photocoagulation when choroidal neovascularization or cystoid macular edema is absent. The use of wavelength specific goggles is mandatory for the patient and the aesthetician operating the cosmetic laser, especially when operating on the face or around the eyes. Abbreviations: Nd:YAG = neodymium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet, OCT = optical coherence tomography, PED = pigment epithelial detachment, CME = cystoid macular edema.

Keywords: Nd:YAG; facial epilation; laser epilation; retinal pigment epithelial detachment; retinal toxicity; subretinal fluid.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Eye Injuries / diagnostic imaging
  • Eye Injuries / etiology*
  • Eye Injuries / physiopathology
  • Hair Removal / methods*
  • Hirsutism / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Lasers, Solid-State / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Retina / diagnostic imaging
  • Retina / injuries*
  • Retina / physiopathology
  • Retinal Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Retinal Diseases / etiology*
  • Retinal Diseases / physiopathology
  • Tomography, Optical Coherence
  • Visual Acuity / physiology