In a First, Toy Laser Causes Eye Damage

And now a bus driver has permanently blurry vision
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2015 6:58 PM CST
In a First, Toy Laser Causes Eye Damage
Like this, but a toy meant for children.   (Shutterstock)

Bus drivers already have to put up with so much; maybe we shouldn't let children shine laser pointers in their eyes on top of everything else. Live Science reports a German bus driver suffered permanent eye damage when a child bounced a toy laser off his rearview mirror and directly into his right eye from approximately 50 feet away. It must have been a one-in-a-million shot, as it's the first-ever reported case of someone being injured by the laser from a child's toy, say doctors in a report published in BMJ Case Reports. "The safety of laser pointers is a major public health issue," the report states, adding that they should be off limits to kids.

The driver had blurry vision for six months before finally going to an eye doctor, who discovered he had a "subtle" injury to his retina. The injury affects the center of the driver's field of vision, and not much can be done to fix it. If hit at the right angle, lasers can cause small burns when they are absorbed by "pigmented structures" in the retina, according to Live Science. The bus driver apparently increased his likelihood of injury by looking in the rearview mirror multiple times to figure out who was shining a laser around. The incident left the authors of the report with one conclusion: "Laser pointers of any class should not be made available to children because they are unlikely to understand the risks of such lasers when using them in play." (Someone in New Jersey just can't stop shining lasers at airplanes.)

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