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Light-based epilation device-related injury to the cornea

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Clinical record

In recent years, there has been a surge in the commercial availability of light-based epilation devices, developed for cosmetic purposes as a means of long-lasting hair removal.1 Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy is commonly used for “laser” hair removal. Depending on commercial variation, devices for IPL delivery use a polychromatic, non-coherent light to produce wavelengths ranging from 515 to 1200 nm. This light is able to penetrate and induce a selective photothermolytic reaction in hair follicles.2 We discuss the case of a woman with accidental corneal exposure to IPL during epilation of her cheek while wearing inappropriate ocular protection.

A 24-year-old woman presented with a sharp pain in her right eye following exposure of the eye to IPL during facial hair epilation. She reported that during epilation of her cheek, the IPL probe slipped in the operator’s hand, knocking off the plastic protective goggles she was wearing. Her past ocular history was the use of daily disposable contact lenses to correct myopia. There was no family history of ocular disease. On examination, she achieved 6/6 best corrected in each eye, and ocular tensions were within normal limits. The right cornea had five small lesions of about 0.2 mm in size at the level of the Descemet membrane. The rest of the ocular…