Worried About Potential Eye Damage when Being Treated with IPL Laser.

I have had IPL on my face to remove hair several times. I wore the goggles I was provided. They got very close to my eye ie top of the cheekbone, sides of eye where crows feet are, and on the top and between my eybrows). The goggles were on, but the flashes were incredibly bright. Is this safe? If any damage was done to my eyes would I notice it immediately or only later? I fear that when they pressed the IPL down it could have created a gap between the goggles and my skin and eyes. Worried.

I also once was having IPL (Palomar) done on my upper arms for several minutes before without the safety goggles. Maybe 50 zaps or more. I May not have been looking directly at it but flashes were coming in from the side of my vision at minimum. Another time the technician accidently discharged the wand in the air. I had the see-through goggles on and have no idea if the laser hit me in the eyes or not. Would the worst case scenario of these events caused damage to my eyes? Expert opinions wanted.

Doctor Answers 3

IPL and risk to the eyes

There have been numerous published reports of eye injury from both laser and IPL.  IPL may be less dangerous than some lasers when fired some distance away, but up close it can be just as dangerous as a laser to the eyes.  You need to wear eye protection at all times.  There are special patient goggles made that allow safe treatment on the face.  I would not treat inside the orbital rim unless you have internal eyeshields in place (eyeshields placed inside your eye).  It is the responsibility of the laser operator to ensure that everyone in the room has the appropriate eye protection.  If you have any concerns about your eyes, get them checked by an eye professional.   

Lone Tree Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Eye Damage and IPL

Goggles are recommended for IPL treatments, yes. But you will not experience damage from just a regular treatment, even when it gets close to the eye. From a regular treatment, with or without the goggles (but keeping your eyes tightly closed), you shouldn't have any concerns with your eyes. You are fine. The light is bright because it's an intense pulsed light, and you do not have any eye damage.

F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Eye Protection during IPL

It is very important that you protect your eyes during any laser treatment.  Your doctor should give you goggles to protect your eyes.  During the laser treatment it is normal for you to see flashes of light.  As long as you have the correct goggles you are safe.  To assure that you are being treated correctly make sure you go to a board certified doctor who is trained and has experience treating patients with lasers.  Dr. Halem


Monica Halem, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.