An optometrist is warning parents after a 14-year-old boy burned both of his retinas by looking into a laser pointer.
According to the ABC, optometrist Ben Armitage saw a 14-year-old boy who was having vision problems. While trying to find the cause of the problem, the teen told Armitage that he had looked directly into a laser pointer for a short period of time.
“He came into see me and on the Friday night he’d got hold of a laser pen and unfortunately shined it in his eyes for a very brief period of time,” Armitage told the ABC. “Unfortunately he’s managed to cause himself permanent damage to the back of his eye.
According to the Daily Mail, the teen burned his retinas by looking into the bright light and damaged the area of the eye known as the macular, where out detailed central vision takes place.
“The back of his eyes on both sides are showing laser burns, so he’s actually managed to burn the retina at the back of the eye near an area called the macular,” the optometrist said. “Unfortunately that’s the area where your detailed central vision takes place and therefore it’s had somewhat of an exaggerated effect on how much sight he’s lost.”
The teen told Armitage that he did not feel any pain when the light shined in his eyes, but that his vision was affected almost immediately.
Armitage that the the boy lost about 75 percent of his vision.
“His vision is down to about 25 percent of what we call 20/20 vision and unfortunately at this stage it’s unlikely that that vision is going to recover.”
Armitage says that the boy’s burns are in areas where “he’s not going to be able to see ever again,” adding, “We’re hoping that as the swelling goes down the size of those burns goes down as well and can help restore some vision.”
Following the incident, Optometry Tasmania is warning parents that laser pointers and laser pens are not toys and that they should never be pointed directly at the eye.
“I think we’ve got to realize that the consequences of the high intensity of these lasers can have such serious effect on a person’s vision,” said Geoff Squibb, chief executive of Optometry Tasmania. “If parents purchase or allow their children to have access to these pens they ought to supervise them very, very carefully and, in fact, better off trying to warn them off them because we’ve just seen in this particular case where the future lifestyle of this young person has been seriously affected.”
Sources: Daily Mail, ABC / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons