The Australian Optometrists issued a warning to every parent: laser pointers ARE NOT toys.
This happens after Ben Armitage, Hobart Optometrist, was asked to investigate the vision problem of a boy of 14 years. Armitage said, “He came to see me and on the Friday night he’d got hold of a laser pen and unfortunately it shined in his eyes for a very brief period of time.”
As a result, the vision of the boy is now only 25 % from what is considered 20/20 vision, this toy has effectively removed 75% of the boy’s vision.
“He has actually managed to burn the retina at the back of the eye near the area which is called the macular.” – Armitage
As the macular is an area for many detailed vision, the effects on the loss of vision were exaggerated. The boy reported that he was feeling no pain at the time, yet he started to immediately experience vision loss. Armitage is hoping that the reduction in swelling is going to help the boy to restore even a part of his vision.
The most unfortunate part is that the damage cannot be fixed…not even if this boy wears glasses!
The laser burns happened in areas where this boy is never going to have vision again. It’s as like you have a camera, but with a damaged sensor. It doesn’t matter what lens that you put on, there is always going to be a part where the vision is very affected in the camera. It’s the same with the eyes. Because the kid damaged his macula, wearing glasses is not going to make a difference.
For this kid, the area of vision that has been affected was the central vision that lets you focus straight ahead, and it allows you to drive, read, and see the details sharply. No glasses, surgery, or anything else could restore this boy’s central vision. Armitage’s hope is that as the swelling decreases more vision is going to be restored.
Eventually, because of this incident, Optometry Tasmania has warned all parents not to look laser pointers as toys for their loved kids.