Parents have been urged to be more vigilant and to show more interest in the type of items their children bring to their home as toys.
Laser pointers in particular are not toys and can cause permanent damage to a child’s vision.This is a note of caution to parents world-wide by Optometrists from Australia.
An Optometrist from Hobart, Australia — Ben Armitage raised this alarm when examining a 14-year-old boy who had severe vision loss.
During Armitage’s investigation into why the boy had such a sudden unexplained loss of vision he discovered that the boy had played with a laser pen and had shone it in his eyes for some time.
In his own word Armitage said that: “He (the 14-year-old boy) came in to 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.”
As a result of this moment of play acting, the child lost about 75% of his vision in both eyes.
His sight is now only about 25% from what Optometrists consider 20/20 vision.
Ben Armitage further stated that the boy had burnt the macular located at the back of retina for both eyes.
The unfortunate thing was that at the time of the play acting the boy had felt no stress to his eyes, which is even more worrying.
He only started experiencing a loss in vision after he had stopped playing with the laser pen.
The Macular which helps in giving us detailed vision had been damaged.
What is most troubling with this incident is that there is no permanent remedy to the vision loss.
Glasses cannot be used to solve the problem and improve the boys vision.
Even though the boy is young, the macular does not regenerate and once it’s damaged, there is really little medical science can do at the moment.
Ben Armitage is however hopeful that the boy would recover some of his vision as the swelling reduces, but a full recovery is futile.
The boy’s central vision was damaged by the laser pen. It is this vision that helps a person to read, to see objects in more detail, to drive and to focus.
Parents have therefore been warned by the Optometry Tazmania to keep laser pointers of all kinds out of the reach of their children and also to avoid purchasing them unsuspectingly as toys.