Laser pointers may be fun to use with your pets, great for drawing attention during a presentation, or essential to making sure you’re perfectly on target but the common household item can cause serious damage.
Each year, optometrists see patients who are experiencing blurred vision, blind spots, and at times, vision loss due to laser-related incidents.
“The damage could probably happen in just a few seconds,” said Optometrist Dr. Andrew Hunt.
“If they hit the retina, they can cause damage. We can get retinal holes that can lead to permanent blind spots in our vision.”
Doctors said laser pointers are dangerous but can be safely used as a tool for eye care.
“Lasers are used quite readily in eye care. When you talk about retinal problems, lasers are used to treat different retinal problems. As well, lasers are used for Lasik. There are quite a few uses for lasers, but they are safely used,” said Dr. Hunt.
The Laser Institute of America reports that in the past few years, injuries and incidents reported involving laser pointer exposure have been on the decline.
“If you’re having any problems, you think maybe you’ve been exposed to a laser, it’s a good idea to go get checked by an eye doctor and let them take a good look and see what’s going on,” said Hunt.
“Patient education has been really, really good. Parents have been really diligent about watching their kids around lasers.”
Warning labels are placed on pointers as an added safety reminder, but the Laser Institute reports the need for further regulations.