How Light is Used in Medicine
Light is present all around us, whether the natural light from the sun during the day, fluorescent light from lightbulbs or laser pointers used for presentations. As much as we depend on light to grow our food, create electricity, and illuminate our lives, we have also been warned that too much of it can be bad for our health. For years we have heard campaigns about the dangers of UV rays for our skin and eyes, however, have you heard about all the benefits light provides in the medical field? There are many uses for light in modern medical procedures, and getting your regular vitamin D is not even one of those.
- IPL- Intense Pulse Light
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is one of the safest acne skin care treatments that you can have. No need to worry about messy topical treatments or potentially harmful oral medication- everything is done quickly, safely, and effectively. Different light wavelengths are used to target bacteria present in and under the skin, heal existing acne wounds, and keeping the oil glands from overproducing, minimizing future flare ups.
- Laser Eye Surgery
Laser Eye Surgery is the best example of the way in which medicine has harnessed the power of light to do good. A powerful laser can be used to make blood-less and blade-less incisions into the delicate tissue of the eye, and all with extreme precision, minimizing the margin of error. This technology has been used for vision correction, cataract removal and more, accomplishing it in a safer and quicker way than every possible before.
- Sterilize equipment
You might have once heard of a UV water filtration system. What happens is that water is passed through a very strong UV light which in effect kills all the bacteria present, rendering it perfectly sterile. A similar technique is used to sterilize a range of medical equipment and tools, making sure that it is safe for use by medical professionals and by patients.
- Dental Procedures
Though dentists do use powerful lights for teeth whitening procedures, they are also used for other more medical purposes. For example, dentists use different compounds to fill and seal cavities that might have developed in a patient’s tooth. However, they cannot expect this bonding agent to air-dry, especially considering the rather wet environment of the oral area. That’s where light comes into the picture. Dentists and oral surgeons use halogens or LED lights to cure these compounds and create a permanent seal in the necessary place
- Cancer Detection
There has been new technology developing, called Raman spectroscopy which can diagnose skin cancer even in its early stages. The reflection of the special laser indicates a healthy or diseased skin cell, eliminating the need for unnecessary biopsy cultivation and diagnosis. It also gives results in real time, meaning that if there is a sign of melanoma, treatment can start sooner, without the wait time for a diagnosis based on a sample of skin. So yes, though spending time unprotected in the sun could be what causes cancer, this laser light technology is what can be the difference between life and death for someone suffering from melanoma.
It’s true that excessive exposure to strong light can be bad for our health, but next time you think that light has no redeeming properties, you don’t have to look very far to see ways in which it has improved our lives, and often our health. Next time you are at the doctor’s office or sitting in the dentist’s chair, ask about the current light technology they are using. It might be worth listening to.