Don’t Stare Into Your Laser Pointer

By: | November 28th, 2018

Laser pointers have become a popular consumer item these days since they are an effective tool to aid in presentations and inexpensive.

But have you ever noticed how dangerous your laser pointer can be?

A laser pointer is different to a torch. The light from a torch is the combination of many colors and spreads out in all directions. A laser pointer, however, gives off a single color light that travels in one direction. That means if you stare into a laser beam, all the light from it can reach your eye in one go.

Regulated by FDA, the US has 5 milliwatts output power limit on laser pointers. But the regulations are more stringent in Britain and Australia, limiting the devices to just 1mW. You need a permit to use anything stronger than the limit.

But that doesn’t stop anyone from purchasing higher powered laser pointers from the internet.

You should never point the lasers at the eyes or aim them at surfaces such as windows, which can reflect infrared light back to you

Recently, a 9 year old Greek boy burnt a hole in his retina by repeatedly staring into a green laser pointer he was playing with. The doctors said that the hole was too large to be treated with surgery. The case report has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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