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Old 03-27-2016, 01:36 AM #1
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Default Can eyes be damaged without flash blindness?

So I bought a laser (green laser 303) for astronomy purposes. I also bought the correct safety glasses. After reading some horror stories online, I decided to get rid of the laser, as I did not want to compromise my vision in any way. I had used the laser several times, indoors with the safety glasses, and bare eyes when outside. I never experienced any glare of flash blindness either. I never got a direct beam to either of my eyes, but every couple of weeks a start to feel like there is something wrong with my sight, and get really anxious. I feel like this is just a psychological reaction. What are the chances that I damaged my eyes from just normal use of the laser?


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Old 03-27-2016, 02:02 AM #2
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Default Re: Can eyes be damaged without flash blindness?

If you caught a laser beam to the eye, you would most certainly know it.

Since you don't recall such an accident, odds are, whatever you're experiencing is psychosomatic.

If you're worried, get your eyes checked out, it's an hour out of your life and will give you peace of mind. Besides, things do go wrong with eyes, with no help from lasers.
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Old 03-27-2016, 03:34 AM #3
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Default Re: Can eyes be damaged without flash blindness?

Pretty sure you're just being overly worried. Unless you've taken a beam to the eye or you stare at the spot on nearby surfaces, I highly doubt you've damaged your eyes.
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Old 03-28-2016, 12:50 AM #4
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Default Re: Can eyes be damaged without flash blindness?

Probably overconcerned indeed. If you are struck in the eye with a visible laser beam that comes anywhere close to doing damage, you WILL notice it. If it is, for example, a green laser that has only 10% of the power required to do any damage it will probably the brightest thing you have ever seen apart from looking directly into the sun (which you should not!).

Psychosomatic symptoms can feel -VERY- real though, and sometimes there are actual symptoms that you only started to notice when putting your vision under scrutiny. One example would be 'floaters' - something most people develop slowly with age and normally not care about. One you start looking at for any defects in your vision you will probably notice you have them when looking at an evenly blue sky etc.

Of course another thing could be some eye ailment that is completely unrelated to lasers, but is actually serious. One example would be cataracts that just develop regardless of laser use, are not made worse by it either, but will impair your vision over time. There is very good surgery to deal with the problem, and many people have it done later in life, but for some it sets in at a relatively young age.

If you believe there is something wrong with your vision have it examined. This examination is normally non-invasive and give you either peace of mind, or a diagnosis for a problem that should be treated even if completely unrelated to laser use. Obviously these things to cost money, but aren't tremendously expensive if you don't have insurance that covers it.
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Old 03-28-2016, 01:32 AM #5
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Default Re: Can eyes be damaged without flash blindness?

What Ben said. Vitreous floaters are something everyone has from an early age and does seem to progress with age. Cataracts are an opacity of the crystalline lens and happens to everyone who lives long enough. The laser you bought is, as laser go, not an especially powerful one, though it is powerful enough to damage your retina if hit with a direct beam or even an indirect one under certain circumstances. I'm pretty sure you are just giving in to fear, which can cause serious enough problems too.
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Old 03-29-2016, 12:59 AM #6
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Default Re: Can eyes be damaged without flash blindness?

I'm not sure if it's fear or obsession, but once you start to scrutinize the details of vision you will probably find some problems with it - likely ones that have always been there and have not been caused by lasers, the sun or any other obvious source.

The whole vision system is very complex, not only the eye but also the brain doing the processing. The brain will compensate for imperfections in the eye without you ever noticing, untill you start to look for it. Some optical illusions exploit this giving the idea of things like color or motion from a black and white or static picture. Virtually everyone is sensitive to such illusions.

One interesting example is myopia (near-sightedness). Most people suffering from mild myopia (say corrections 0.5 to 1 dioptre) don't even realize they suffer from the condition untill they get into an environment that requires really sharp vision for distant objects. These can be things like blackboards in school, but often even later in life when trying to read road signs at highway speed. Getting glasses or contacts at that point instantly upgrades your experience to 'full hd' and you will know the world looks fuzzy without them for the rest of your live... but you never missed that before!
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Old 03-29-2016, 01:21 AM #7
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Default Re: Can eyes be damaged without flash blindness?

Yeah, you'll really "know it" if you get blasted by your laser in a dangerous manner. It'll be extremely bright and envelop your entire field of view in a flash blinding light.

Your eyes could also be stressed from working in dim light, or even from wearing the goggles if they block out too much light (like those red filters). A good night sleep, eye drops, and allowing your eyes to focus on stuff that is farther away will help your eyes feel less stressed.
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Old 03-29-2016, 02:38 PM #8
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Default Re: Can eyes be damaged without flash blindness?

No worries from the laser it would seem but if you think there might actually be a vision problem do as others suggest and get them checked.
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