Laser pointer leaves boy with hole in his eye

Laser pointer burns hole in 9-year-old boy’s retina in Greece

Further scans of the inside of the boy's eyeball also showed two smaller burn marks beside the larger hole.

Due to the large size of the hole in the boy's eye, doctors decided against performing surgery, which is the typical choice of treatment, and instead opted for a conservative recovery option in the hope his eyesight would regenerate.

Normally macular holes are treatable, though the surgery inevitably causes cataracts, which permanently clouds vision.

A nine-year-old boy was left almost blind after burning a hole into his eye by staring into a green laser pointer. It was measured at 20/100 (meaning he needs to be within 20 feet to see what most see from 100 feet).

Despite that path of action, doctors confirmed that the boy's eyesight had not strengthened or recovered after 18 months of follow-up treatments, the journal reported. But even if he had come in earlier, there was no available therapy for his case, she said. "That can leave scar tissue behind and can cause bleeding". His right eye has remained at 20/20. "It's the same thing".

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, laser pointers pose minimal risk if they meet laser power limits and are used properly.

Before purchasing a laser pointer, make sure it has the following information on the label: a statement that it complies with Chapter 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations); the manufacturer or distributor's name and the date of manufacture; a warning to avoid exposure to laser radiation; the class designation, ranging from Class I to IIIa.

"Typically, they're less than 5 milliwatts, and those are relatively less harmful, but they're often mislabeled". In the USA, regulations allow laser pointers with outbeam power below 5 milliwatts, while more powerful lasers may not be marketed as laser pointers.

The patient's father had bought the laser as a toy from a street merchant, Androudi said.

Green-blue lasers are typically considered more risky than red-orange lasers because they emit a light that is very close to 550 nanometers, the wavelength to which the human eye is most sensitive. Put simply, it's easier to see green light than red, she explained.

Writing in a paper for the New England Medical Journal, the doctors who dealt with the case warned parents should be wary of the life-changing dangers of a strong beam from a laser. That means no playing with them like they're light sabers or aiming them in front of cats to get them to chase the little dot.

Lasers are risky as a toy for many reasons.

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