Laser pointers are a big hit with kids. And why shouldn’t they be? They have the capability of detecting something from a good distance away, which could provide for hours of fun. They get even more fun if you have a playful cat around. Cats love dancing and darting around the red dot at their feet which provides some major entertainment. Sounds harmless, right?
It turns out that these little lights are extremely dangerous if they are pointed in someone’s eyes. One Tasmania teenager recently lost 75 percent of his eyesight after the pointer was shined directly in his eye. When the boy complained to his parents that he was having trouble seeing, he was taken to his family doctor, however; the doctor instantly recognized that there was something more severe going on and he sent him to see a specialist. That specialist was Optometrist Ben Armitage.
The boy had told Armitage that the laser had been exposed to his eyeball for a very brief amount of time, right before he was faced with symptoms of sight loss. After taking photos of the boy’s affected eyes, Armitage came to the conclusion that his retinas had been burned and the backs of his eyes were permanently damaged. Unfortunately, the affected area of the eye was right where the detailed central vision takes place, and this caused the damage to be magnified.
While the boy admits that he didn’t experience any pain after the laser was exposed to his eye, his vision was immediately affected just moments after the incident. His optometrist believes that his blindness will most likely be permanent because the burn occurred near the macular region of the eye. While some of his vision returned once the swelling went down, the boy would probably be partially blind for the rest of his life.
With Christmas right around the corner, Optometry Tasmania Chief Executive Geoff Squibb has issued a warning, informing parents of the danger that these lasers provide and urging them to avoid purchasing them.
While the majority of laser pointers sold in the United States are vetted and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, there are some that have been imported without facing the guidelines and approval.
As to be expected, followers of this story, feel strongly about the lasers being kept out of reach of children.
“They need to quit selling the damn things, period.”
“Laser pointers are tools, not toy,, they’re to be used in classroom,, offices, as decor, etc.”
The majority of commenters felt that anything that has the power to blind someone should be taken off the market…
“If they are that dangerous take them off the market.”