Retinal Light Toxicity
Prolonged exposure to the illuminating filament of an operating microscope can increase the risk of CME or a burn to the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). The risk of an RPE burn is particularly high during cataract surgery, when the filtering effects of the natural lens (cataract) are removed, exposing the vulnerable RPE to unfiltered blue light and near-ultraviolet radiation. If a burn occurs, a central or paracentral scotoma may result. Minimizing retinal exposure to the operating microscope light, filtering light wavelengths below 515 nm, and, when possible, using pupillary shields and oblique lighting reduce the risk of this complication.
Excerpted from BCSC 2020-2021 series: Section 11 - Lens and Cataract. For more information and to purchase the entire series, please visit https://www.aao.org/bcsc.