The Medical Uses of Optical Fibres and Lasers

The Medical Uses of Optical Fibres and Lasers

The Medical Uses of Optical Fibres


  • Optical fibres are thin strands of glass or plastic capable of transmitting light over long distances. They are widely used in medicine due to their ability to transmit light in a controlled and focused manner.


  • Optical fibres are used in a medical procedure called endoscopy, which allows doctors to view the inside of the body without invasive surgery.
  • They’re used to illuminate the body part being examined and to transmit the image to an external monitor.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT)

  • This is a treatment that involves the use of optical fibre to transmit light within the body to activate a drug within tumour cells. The activated drug then destroys the cancer cells.
  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is used to treat certain cancers, such as skin, lung and oesophageal cancers.

The Medical Uses of Lasers


  • A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification. In medicine, lasers are used in various applications due to their precision and intensity.

Laser Surgery

  • Lasers can be used to cut, burn, or destroy tissue with a high degree of precision. This makes them useful in surgeries where precision is crucial, such as eye surgery.
  • One example is LASIK surgery, which uses a laser to reshape the cornea and improve vision.

Laser Therapy

  • In laser therapy, lasers can be used to treat a variety of conditions, such as kidney stones, tumours, or precancerous growths.
  • Lasers can also be used to close small blood vessels, which can help to reduce blood loss during surgery or after an injury.

Photodynamic Therapy with Lasers

  • Similar to optical fibres, lasers are used in photodynamic therapy to activate a drug within tumour cells, destroying the cancer cells.

Safety Measures

  • Due to the intensity and focused nature of lasers, they can also pose a risk if not handled properly. It is essential to wear protective eyewear and keep skin exposure to a minimum.
  • Just like with the use of optical fibres, medical professionals must undergo extensive training and abide by strict safety regulations to ensure the safe use of lasers in medicine.