A teenager loses part of his retina due to a laser pointer

Although risk of looking directly at a laser pointer is it so well documented, an Ohio teenager had an unfortunate incident that caused permanent damage to his eyes and vision.

The recent medical report states that the teenager looked directly at a laser pointer for several seconds while playing a 'shooting game' with his friends, he collects 'Science Alert'.

The device used was a laser pointer toy intended for playing with pets, the medical report notes. While devices like this are often advertised as low-power lasers, growing evidence of retinal damage caused by such indicators suggests that the risk is increasing, although people might not be aware of it.

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"Increased availability, higher power outputs, and increased development of devices that emit in blue wavelengths and green are attributable, "explains the team, led by first author and medical student Carol Vitellas of Ohio State University (OSU).

"Although it is commonly believed to be safe, even a brief exposure to the eye with a laser pointer it can lead to permanent vision loss, and children are particularly at risk, "the report said.

Sadly, that is exactly what happened to the teenager in this case. In spite of just look at the laser directly for a few seconds, immediately afterwards he experienced a form of vision loss for several minutes, after describing the initial visual effect as a bright light.

Blurred vision and vision loss

Five months after the incident, the teenager, who was experiencing continuous blurred vision and partial loss of vision in his right eye, he went to see the OSU ophthalmologist Frederick Davidorf.

At the time, the teenager said that sometimes couldn't see lyrics individual when reading a text with the right eye (with the left eye closed). At that time, tests revealed that visual acuity was slightly decreased in his right eye, but presented as normal in his left eye.

On a subsequent visit six months later, found that his visual acuity had improved at a normal level in both eyes, but that apparently positive result did not reflect the damage done within the eye.

Two large lesions and smaller areas of cone loss in the right eye. (Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc)

Using a high resolution optical scanning system, Davidorf saw the damage firsthand caused to the young man's retinas, where entire regions of cells light-sensitive photoreceptors (aka rods and cones) had been "destroyed" by the laser, as Davidorf puts it. "There is nothing left there," says Davidorf. "The affected areas are devoid of cones."

The young man was diagnosed with macular burns by laser in both eyes, since no other confounding condition could explain the loss of vision he was experiencing.

With the use of high power optical systemCalled Adaptive OCT-Optical Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope (AO-OCT-SLO), researchers can count the individual cells that make up this part of the retina.

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Unfortunately for your patient, injuries caused by laser they had apparently eradicated the photoreceptor cells from the child's retinas, with two lesions in the right eye and one in the left.

The good news is that, over time, it seems that the adolescent's injury may be slowly improving, although a full recovery is not expected, thinks the team.

The adolescent's eyes were scanned with the ophthalmoscope twice, at 11 and then 20 months after the injury. Meanwhile, the researchers observed a slight decrease in the size of the lesions. "It will never be completely cured"Davidorf points out. "There will always be scars there."

Stock Photo: iStock

Given enough time, hopefully the young man recovers more of his vision, But in the meantime, their experience serves as a valuable warning of the dangers these tiny devices and toys pose to people's eyes.

That is especially so because it is difficult or impossible to know exactly how much power a laser could have in particular, and although some previous research might suggest that the risks are exaggerated, unfortunate cases like this speak directly to the contrary.

"Portable lasers can have a power of <5 mW (punteros láser típicos) a> 1200 mW (high-powered blue lasers capable of lighting cigarettes or remotely ignite fireworks), "the study authors explain.

"Misuse can result in retinal lesions they can be located only in the outer retina or can result in full-thickness macular holes. "