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

Adjust Comment Print

The doctors also found a "large macular hole" in the retina of his left eye.

In a shocking incident, a nine-year-old boy has become partially blind after playing with a green laser pointer that burned a hole in his eye.

Holes in the macula are generally treated by surgery, which comes with near about one hundred percent risk of developing cataract formation. It seems that the boy's vision was at 100% in his right eye and at only 20% in his left and damaged one. In fact, the light energy from a laser pointer directed into the eye can be more damaging than looking directly into the sun.

However, in this case, because the macular hole resulted from the laser burn, the nerves in the eye that absorb light were totally damaged, said Androudi, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Thessaly in Greece. Sadly, this means that even if the doctors conduct the surgery in this case, the boy will lose his vision.

About 18 months after the boy first came in for treatment, his vision remained as it was - 20/20 in his right eye and 20/100 in his left, according to CNN.

Health officials have warned for years about the possible dangers of laser pointers for people's eyes. "That can leave scar tissue behind and can cause bleeding". And in this case, Androudi said that she suspects the boy had suffered with the injury in his eye at least a year before he actually came in for treatment.

"And these are particularly risky powers, and there's no way for you to know as a user that this laser pointer that you got off the internet has the right power".

Many countries have limited the sale of laser devices, and they should not have more than 1mW of power.

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

The United States Food and Drug Administration has restricted vendors to sell laser pointers having more than five milliwatts power all over the U.S. But this restriction is not yet regulated or enforced.

Given the circumstances behind the young patient's injury, CNN ended its report with a stern warning from researcher Androudi - lasers, whether they may be in pointer form or not, "should never be considered toys".