Laser Pointer Burns Hole In A 9-Year-Old’s Eye

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After staring into a green laser pointer, a boy’s retina was permanently injured.

Doctors in Greece examined the boy’s eye and saw a large hole in the macular tissue of one of his eyes. They published the case in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Imaging of the eye reveals a hole in the macular tissue of his left eye and two spots below the hole. After the boy’s vision got worse, his parents took him to an ophthalmology clinic. The boy told the doctors that he played with a laser pointer bought by his father from a street merchant, and then, his vision got worse.

Permanent Vision Loss

The boy had 18 months of conservative treatment, but his vision didn’t improve. Sofia Androudi, who works at the University of Thessaly in Larissa, is one of the physicians treating the boy, stated that surgery that treats macular holes lead to cataracts:

“This means that even if the surgery would be successful, the boy would not be able to see.”

Thomas C Lee is the director of the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. He was not involved in the study, but he wants to explain that lasers are powerful and can damage the vision:

“When you have something as powerful as a laser, it’s so powerful that it is converted to heat like a burn. That can leave scar tissue behind and can cause bleeding. The patient can actually get a blind spot right in the middle of the eye. It’s like a magnifying glass burning a piece of paper. It’s the same thing.”

Androudi explained that the boy may have been suffering from vision loss after the laser burn for more than a year since he went to get checked at the ophthalmology clinic. She said that not many children are willing to disclose their eye injuries.

Powerful Lasers Can Be Bought Online, Despite US FDA Warnings

Many countries have limited the sale of laser devices, and they should not have more than 1mW of power. But they powerful laser can be found online. The US Food and Drug Administration warns against the powerful lasers that give off more radiation. The more powerful lasers have green, blue and violet light.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere