Old 03-23-2012, 01:47 AM #1
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Default how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

I registered to just ask the following...

I came home today and found my 8year old playing with an old laser pointer. It's one of those ones that uses two AA batteries, the size of a regular pen, and being cheap and red I'm assuming it's a Class II going by what I've read in the last half hour.

Anyway, he was shining it in his face but it looked like a red torch with a wide beam covering his face instead being in a point. I've since learned this was due to the lens being taken - presumably this would lessen the intensity/danger to his eyes. Anyway, after having some harsh words with him, he told me earlier on he had in fact been staring at the beam when the lens was still in there.

He says his vision is fine and I'm not sure if I should be worried or not. So my question is how much damage could one of these pointers do when 1) the lens is in and there has been direct contact in the eye, and 2) when the lens is out and there has been direct contact with the eye?

Haven't told his mum yet, but I know she'll be more paranoid than I am right now...


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Old 03-23-2012, 01:54 AM #2
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Default Re: how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

For #1 and #2 it depends on the amount of power that's going into his eye (W/cm^2).

It's hard to tell you more without knowing the power and how much of the laser was going into his eye.

If it was a 1mW laser you should have nothing to worry about, but it could be over-spec and/or have a really tight beam and could pose danger. (Don't take my word for it, I am by no means an expert)

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Old 03-23-2012, 02:00 AM #3
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Default Re: how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

Well it depends on the output power and how focused the beam was. And if his eye isn't already damaged then its fine because the damage would happen right away not after.

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Old 03-23-2012, 02:05 AM #4
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Default Re: how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

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the damage would happen right away not after.
Yes, if he has any trouble seeing go see a retinal specialist ASAP, as they can give him something to reduce the bleeding in the eye and lessen the blind spot.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:09 AM #5
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Default Re: how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

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Originally Posted by AnthoT View Post
Well it depends on the output power and how focused the beam was. And if his eye isn't already damaged then its fine because the damage would happen right away not after.

-Anthony
That is somewhat misleading. It is true that any damage would have already occurred, and any significant damage would be immediately visible. That being said, a lack of immediate visible damage doesn't indicate no damage.

The eye will blink before most low powered lasers can do damage. This doesn't apply to cheap green (or any DPSS laser) lasers because they can emit dangerous IR which can blind you without you even seeing it.

What color was the laser, and can you take a picture or retype the warning label?

I am not an expert, so if you think there might be damage, I recommend you see one.
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Old 03-23-2012, 02:11 AM #6
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Default Re: how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

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I am not an expert, so if you think there might be damage, I recommend you see one.
Me too I was just saying what I knew but if there is any notible damage then go see a eye doctor/ retinal specialist ASAP.

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Old 03-23-2012, 02:34 AM #7
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Default Re: how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

If it was my kid we would be at the Emergency Room of the hospital asking to speak with an eye specialist. Too many variables to accurately assess the situation and there are things they can do to improve the odds of healing faster and more completely if there was damage done - but of course speed of treatment is critical.

@Jacob, he said it was a red - probably 650-660 since it is old.
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:24 AM #8
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Default Re: how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

There is nothing to panic about if there is damage done I am not a doctor but I do not think
there is any thing that can be done to change it if he did do any damage.

It is most likely he has not hurt him self with it as he probably would not have been able to
hold it in his eye if it hurt to do so and it would certainly hurt if he was doing damage in most cases.

I suspect it was a 5mW or less power and could have had weak batteries.

There is nothing like a exam to be sure and most any doctor should be able to look in his eye
with a lens and see if he needs to see a specialist.

Good luck
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Old 03-23-2012, 07:52 AM #9
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Default Re: how bad are cheap lasers on the eye?

If I got home and my 10 year old was doing this, I would take him to the eye doctor immediantly.
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