Types of laser injury by occupation and their prevalence: a systematic review

T Chaweepoonpermsin, Ian Litchfield

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This study explores the types of occupational laser injury and their prevalence in each occupation which occurred from 2010 to July 2019 by using a combination of search terms in 10 sources (seven from bibliographic databases-Ovid MEDLINE and In-Process, EMBASE, HMIC, PsycINFO, CINHAL Plus, NIOSHTIC, and PubMed MEDLINE, plus two from the grey literature-UBIRA ETheses and EThOS, and the last one from a reference list of all included studies). The final selected papers were assessed for quality by a different form of checklist depending on study type. At least average or above-average quality studies were extracted using a self-created data extraction form and were then analysed by deductive thematic analysis. From a total of 2,056 identified papers, 29 were retrieved for data extraction. Some 69.0% of the retrieved studies were accounted for by healthcare workers (HCWs), 17.2% by aviation, 6.9% by office work, 3.4% by entertainment, and 3.4% by the military. Type of laser injury was themed among each occupation. Laser-generated air contaminants (LGACs) were the main type of injury among healthcare workers, accounting for 85.0% of HCWs’ studies (17 out of 20 papers), while ocular injury was the only published injury type in aviation (all 5 papers). In terms of prevalence, few studies were obtained, making it impossible to perform a meta-analysis. However, it could be concluded that the main concerned health effect of surgical smoke was human papillomavirus (HPV) transmission. There were five articles related to this topic, most showing a low risk of HPV contamination in the air and protective equipment. Only one paper mentioned that the prevalence of gastrointestinal mucosal HPV type was found among 5.8% of 156 employees who had been exposed to LGACs due to their involvement in the procedure of laser treatment of patients with genital warts, compared to 1.7% of 115 of those with no history of exposure to LGACs as a result of the procedure (p=0.12). Essentially, most laser incident reports were commonly known as ocular and skin injuries. Nonetheless, this result reveals that the highest number of studies was published in LGACs exposure among healthcare workers. Although there is a growing trend of laser use, the number of published papers related to this area was too small and could not meet all this study’s research objectives. Therefore, further study in this area could help to develop more knowledge.
Translated title of the contributionTypes of laser injury by occupation and their prevalence: a systematic review
Original languageOther
Pages (from-to)700-713
Number of pages14
JournalDisease Control Journal
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Sep 2021


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