Optometrists in Australia have issued a warning to parents about the laser pointers that are so commonly found in most people’s homes. Whether you have one for work presentations or one you use as a cat toy to entice your cat to chase it, these pointers aren’t toys and they’re actually dangerous when pointed at the eye. A 14-year-old boy pointed a laser pointer at his eye for just a brief period of time and now he has lost 75% of his vision, the doctors report. An optometrist named Ben Armitage is the main doctor issuing the warning. The problem, Armitage says, is that most people are unaware of the danger.
Armitage reports that the boy came in for an appointment and explained that he had shined a laser into his eye. Armitage didn’t say why the boy did it, but the fact is, kids (and some adults) just do stuff to see what happens, unfortunately. In this case, the boy burned the retina at the back of his eye in an area known as the macular, the doctor said. It’s the macular that’s responsible for a lot of our detailed vision. Because of this accident, the effects of vision loss have been worsened. Even though the boy reported no pain at the time of the event, he nearly immediately started losing some vision.
"Chronic, recurrent, or large macular holes remain difficult to manage with suboptimal closure rates and visual outcomes." Authors describe experience mobilizing macular retina using a flexible nitinol loop to aid in closure of hole (N=11 pts case series). https://t.co/P9y0Q4oXVK pic.twitter.com/7U71FSwQFC
— Ophthalmology (@AAOjournal) April 27, 2021
Specialists hope that the boy’s vision will return when the swelling goes down, but one of the biggest problems with this issue is that the damage is typically irreversible and can’t even be corrected with glasses. That’s scary stuff. The specialists say that to imagine what happened, it helps to see the macular part of one’s eye as a sort of camera sensor. When the internal sensor is damaged, no matter what lens you put on your camera, it’s never going to be the same. The eye is very similar in this regard.
— Off The Main Page (@offthemainpage) May 4, 2021
Since the macular area was damaged, even glasses won’t correct this boy’s vision. Hide those laser pointers away, folks.