Optometrists have warned parents not to consider laser pointers as toys after a Tasmanian teenager caused permanent damage to his eyes by looking into one. Hobart optometrist Ben Armitage received a call on Monday from a GP asking him to investigate why the 14-year-old boy was having vision problems.
“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,” he said. “Unfortunately he’s managed to cause himself permanent damage to the back of his eye.” Photographs of the boy’s eyes show laser burns to his each of his retinas.
“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,” Mr Armitage 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 boy said he did not feel any pain at the time, but the impact on his vision would have been almost immediate. “His vision is down to about 25 per cent of what we call 20/20 vision and unfortunately at this stage it’s unlikely that that vision is going to recover,” Mr Armitage said.