In order to examine the safety philosophy for laser classes 2 and 2M according to the international laser standard IEC 60825-1, which is based on the existence of aversion responses including the blink reflex, two research projects have been funded by the Federal Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (FIOSH) in Germany.
In total, 2,250 volunteers have been investigated in the blink-reflex study in various test situations, where a collimated beam, a divergent beam, a scanned laser line or LED irradiation have been used as a bright optical stimulus. The various test situations included, for example, a free laser beam (like that used in the case of laser adjustment), an eye-tracking system, in which visual tasks have been performed, or LEDs used as single elements or in a cluster. 796 volunteers took part in the aversion response study.
Concerning the blink reflex, the mean value of the frequency has been estimated to be 18.36 % within a range extending from 13.8 % up to 36.1 % depending on various parameters and applied optical sources. Their respective influences will be explained.
Aversion responses, like head and eye movements, have been found to be relatively seldom events, since only 4.65 % of volunteers showed a reaction which belonged to this category of inherent, physiological, protection reactions. The different parameters which are mainly responsible for the respective results concerning the blink reflex and aversion responses will be dealt with and explained, as they have been experimentally achieved up to now.