Laser Pointer Burns Through Boy's Eye

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

In 2010, a similar case study, also published in the New England Journal of Medicine, documented the case of a 15-year-old boy who suffered severe eye damage after purchasing a high-powered handheld laser pointer on the internet and playing with it in front of the mirror.

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". Further imaging revealed two further injured spots below the hole.

Eye specialists determined that, while his right eye still had ideal 20/20 vision, his left eye had been reduced to 20/100 sight and "a large macular hole burnt into the centre of his retina".

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. "This means that even if the surgery would be successful, the boy would not be able to see". A person with 20/100 vision needs to be 20 feet away from a reading chart to see letters that a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet, according to the American Optometric Association.

According to NEJM, the patient's vision in the affected eye decreased to 20/100, and hasn't improved in the 18 months since the incident.

"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.

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'That can leave scar tissue behind and can cause bleeding. "It's the same thing". The US Food and Drug Administration warns against so-called "overpowered" green, blue and violet lasers that have been modified to give off more radiation than originally intended.

"Typically, they're less than 5 milliwatts, and those are relatively less harmful, but they're often mislabeled".

Some of the laser pointers are so strong, they can cast a light through the sky across a city.

The boy later told the specialists that he had been playing with a green laser pointer and had chose to look into the beam.

The patient's father had bought the laser as a toy from a street merchant, Androudi said. Put simply, it's easier to see green light than red, she explained.

Never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone.

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