A 44-year-old bus driver from Germany experienced vision loss caused by a laser toy that a little boy was playing with. The little boy aimed the laser at the rearview mirror from about 15 meters from the bus driver. This laser reflected from the mirror into the driver’s eyes.
The driver experienced vision loss in his right eye soon after this incident had occurred. This continued for 6 months; after which he decided to seek medical help. Fortunately, his right eye was not affected.
Vision Loss: Diagnosis
After examination, the ophthalmologist diagnosed him as a case of “laser-induced maculopathy”. The macula is the central area on the retina, which is responsible for producing highly focused images of the central visual field.
Why only one eye?
Unfortunately, the doctor was unable to understand why only one of his eyes was affected. Moreover, the 44-year-old had looked into the rearview mirror three times to identify the source of the laser. In doing so, he exposed his eyes to the laser for a prolonged time.
“The light that lasers emit has several properties that can make it dangerous to unprotected eyes. Laser-produced light stays together in one narrow path, and it is focused on one small point. Laser light is also one color, and the eyes are more sensitive to certain colors of light than others, he said. In this case, though, the laser was red, which is not as harmful to the eyes as blue or green lasers.”VINCENT PATALANO, CHIEF OF OPHTHALMOLOGY AT CAMBRIDGE HEALTH ALLIANCE AND AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF OPHTHALMOLOGY AT HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL IN BOSTON,
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment available for laser-induced maculopathy. However, if the patient presents early, doctors use corticosteroids to provide some relief to the patient’s symptoms.
Use of laser: a nuisance?
Laser has a wide range of beneficial purposes ( presentations, treatment). However, if not used correctly, it may cause adverse effects on human health.
Therefore, experts strictly advise against giving toys with lasers to little children, as this may harm them and those around them.