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


After examination, doctors were shocked to discover a big hole in the boy's macula, which is a very small area in the eye's retina. Well, in case you were thinking about trying it, the New England Journal of Medicine would like to remind you that doing so is dumb as hell (our words, not theirs). He told doctors he had been playing with a laser pointer his father bought from a street merchant before the symptoms began, CNN reported.

A nine years old Greece boy reportedly faced a permanent injury in the left eye as he was repeatedly gazing into the green beam of a laser pointer. Treating macular holes with surgery nearly always leads to the formation of cataracts, Sofia Androudi, a physician involved in the boy's treatment, explained to CNN. Unfortunately, even if the surgery were successful, the little boy would still lose his sight.

The boy's vision was measured at 20/20 in his right eye and 20/100 in his left, according to the report.

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

After 18 months of conservative treatment, the boy's vision has not improved.

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"When you have something as powerful like a laser, it's so powerful that it is converted to heat like a burn", said Dr. Thomas C. Lee, director of the Vision Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, who was not involved with the care of this patient. Green-blue lasers are typically considered more unsafe 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. The patient can actually get a blind spot right in the middle of the eye.

The FDA restricts the sale of laser pointers to a maximum power of 5 milliwatts.

At the time, the American Academy of Ophthalmology issued a statement cautioning consumers about the dangers of such powerful devices - well over the legal limit for laser pointers - and alerting parents to the harm they can cause.

Laser pointers may jazz up your PowerPoint presentation, but they can pose serious hazards to your eyes if you use them the wrong way. It's unclear how powerful the laser pointer in the Greek boy's case was.