Health Care

Laser pointer causes a hole in the retina of a boy’s eye

Laser pointer causes a hole in the retina of a boy’s eye”

A scan revealed a large hole in macula (left part of retina), which is crucial for mapping out faces and words.

The child's dad bought him a green laser pointer at a market as a toy.

The journal posted a pair of images on Twitter showing the effects on a 9-year-old boy's eye as a result of "repeatedly gazing into the laser beam".

Normally macular holes are treatable, though the surgery inevitably causes cataracts, which permanently clouds vision. It seems that the boy's vision was at 100% in his right eye and at only 20% in his left and damaged one.

The child came in for a check-up with his doctor in Volos, Greece, more than a year after his injury, and complained of some issues seeing.

Some of the laser pointers are so strong, they can cast a light through the sky across a city. Sadly, this means that even if the doctors conduct the surgery in this case, the boy will lose his vision.

An eye test revealed the boy's vision to be 20/20 (normal) in his right eye but 20/100 in his left eye, the report said. Eighteen months after he came in, there were no changes to the boy's vision.

"When you have something as powerful as a laser, it's so powerful that it is converted to heat like a burn", Thomas C Lee, director of the Vision Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, who was not involved in this particular case, told CNN.

A laser is usually so powerful that is can act like a burn. As it was a green laser, Androudi stressed that it is more risky to use than a typical red-orange pointer, as human eyes are more sensitive to blue-green light. It's like a magnifying glass burning a piece of paper.

They note that while many national health agencies have warned about the potential dangers of handheld laser pointers, and the sale of these devices with greater than 1 milliwatts (mW) of power is restricted in many areas, more powerful laser pointers remain available and are widely sold on the internet.

In Australia, laser pointers with a beam strength of greater than 1mW of light require written permission from the Federal government to be imported into the country. It's unclear how powerful the laser pointer in the Greek boy's case was.

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