A new study out of Germany proves just how dangerous laser pointers are to the human eye. According to their findings, researchers conclude laser pointers can do irreversible damage to the retina.
Scientists at the University of Bonn combed through dozens of studies that dealt with the effect laser pointers have had on the eyes of over 100 patients. Most of these studies came from either PubMed or the Web of Science.
All of these patients had some degree of eye damage caused by a laser pointer injury. Researchers found that the radiation from the laser pointer's lightwaves caused significant damage to the eyes' tissues. This often resulted in eye inflammation and protein denaturation. Some patients had such severe damage to the retina that they ended up blind.
This new report suggests green laser pointers are far more dangerous than red laser pointers. Green laser pointers emit short-wave light, whereas red pointers emit longer light waves. The official classification of a short-wave laser pointer is between 490 and 575 nanometers. On the other hand, long-wave pointers could range between 635 and 750 nanometers.
Unfortunately, injuries from laser pointers have risen steadily over the past few years. Study authors note that it's futile to try and regulate the laser pointers on the Internet market today. Instead, researchers recommend consumers be informed about the dangers of these pointers. Parents should never allow children to use these devices without supervision.
Key researchers on this project include Drs. Johannes Birtel, Frank Gerhard Holz, and Tim U. Krohne, all of whom teach at the University of Bonn's Department of Ophthalmology. One scientist on this project, Dr. Charbel Issa, works at the Oxford Eye Hospital.
Anyone can read the full version of this study on Deutsches Ärzteblatt International's website. This study was published under the title, "Retinal Injury Following Laser Pointer Exposure: A Systematic Review and Case Series."