Nerve fiber layer (NFL) degeneration associated with acute q-switched laser exposure in the nonhuman primate

Harry Zwick, Joseph A. Zuclich, Bruce E. Stuck, Donald A.M.D. Gagliano, David J. Lund, Randolph D. Glickman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


We have evaluated acute laser retinal exposure in non-human primates using a Rodenstock scanning laser ophthalmoscope (SLO) equipped with spectral imaging laser sources at 488, 514, 633, and 780 nm. Confocal spectral imaging at each laser wavelength allowed evaluation of the image plane from deep within the retinal vascular layer to the more superficial nerve fiber layer in the presence and absence of the short wavelength absorption of the macular pigment. SLO angiography included both fluorescein and indocyanine green procedures to assess the extent of damage to the sensory retina, the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), and the choroidal vasculature. All laser exposures in this experiment were from a Q-switched Neodymium laser source at an exposure level sufficient to produce vitreous hemorrhage. Confocal imaging of the nerve fiber layer revealed discrete optic nerve sector defects between the lesion site and the macula (retrograde degeneration) as well as between the lesion site and the optic disk (Wallerian degeneration). In multiple hemorrhagic exposures, lesions placed progressively distant from the macula or overlapping the macula formed bridging scars visible at deep retinal levels. Angiography revealed blood flow disturbance at the retina as well as at the choroidal vascular level. These data suggest that acute parafoveal laser retinal injury can involve both direct full thickness damage to the sensory and non-sensory retina and remote nerve fiber degeneration. Such injury has serious functional implications for both central and peripheral visual function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsRosario Brancato, Adolf F. Fercher, A.S. Melamed, Pascal O. Rol
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995
Externally publishedYes
EventLasers in Ophthalmology II - Lille, Fr
Duration: Sep 9 1994Sep 10 1994

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


OtherLasers in Ophthalmology II
CityLille, Fr

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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