London: Inappropriate use of laser pointers causes serious harm to the retina, found doctors of the Royal Liverpool Hospital and Manchester Eye Hospital.
The revelation came after medics operated on a teenager who had shone a laser into his eyes and ended up suffering burns and retinal damage.
Tests conducted on the teen showed that he had central scotomas, or dark spots, in his vision.
Even though the teenager’s vision is normal, he is at risk of developing problems later on in life as a result of the damage to his retina.
“The Health Protection Agency has not been made aware of any injuries to the surface of the eye caused by laser pointers - such injuries are usually caused by persistent rubbing of the eye after the laser beam has been shone into the eye,” said a spokesman from the Health Protection Agency.
“Clinicians have, however, made the HPA aware that scotomas - retinal injuries causing abnormal vision - have been caused by high power green laser pointers,” he added.
“Laser pointers are deceptive. They look safe but they can be very dangerous, particularly ones available on the internet which may possess a very strong beam,” said Barbara McLaughlan, campaigns manager at the Royal National Institute of Blind People,.
“If misused and shone into a person’s eyes, even for just a few seconds, the damage can be devastating," she said.
The study was published in the British Medical Journal.