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You think lasers are a for fun?

fixitiwill

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This is a copy of another response I posted in the ubiquitous FAIL thread, but I really think it deserves re-posting here:
My initial instinct was to 'lol' but that wouldn't have been right. If nothing else, I have a really long history in eye damage. Something I'm not proud of. When I was 13 I was told that I could view a solar eclipse through a hole in a piece of paper; I looked through that hole and the next day had to go have the burned out nerves mapped out on my retina. Luckily for me, the human brain is really good at accounting for these sorts of 'problems'. Since then, I am the epitome of the fool when it comes to lasers. It's real hard to admit, it's downright embarrassing, but I used to have 20/20 vision. Then lasers. Yeah.... Right.... Get the fucking glasses. I didn't get the glasses for years, and now? I now have trouble reading the newspaper. NO SHIT! I can only read ANYTHING if I look off center. I'm not kidding. Just another example of why these things are a serious hazard. The ONLY thing that hasn't dimnished is my love for lasers.
So while everyone says they can blind you instantly, they are wrong! But they are right! You won't just see black for the rest of your life, but you will NEVER be able to see what you want to see again. Don't believe me? Try me.
I have a feeling this post will forever damn me here in the LPF, but WTF? Sometimes you just gotta be 'real'.
 



fixitiwill

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OK, here is a pretty close approximation of the damage I have done!
 

magmabeam

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Nobody disputes the danger of lasers, a scanned eye report would be nice though.
 
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Eudaimonium

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If not for "fun", I don't know what else could they possibly be used for. Practicality of high-visibility lasers is greatly reduced once one throws all the fun out of the window.

And that idiot who did damage his eyes, it's his own damn fault.

Yes it's dangerous, use it responsibly and have fun! What's wrong with that?
 

kiyoukan

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you know a funny thing happened to me.
i have had glasses / contacts for the past 10 years.
over the years my vision has been steady out. i then took a stray beam shot from the side.
Well after that i noticed a few days later i was getting a headache.
So i put 2 and 2 together and i thought shit i just screwed over my eye.
But actually it got better and my eye now needs a less prescription.
my eyes were never the same but they were close not they are quite different.
 

ShortyInCanada

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FIXIT : I know exactly how it feels.
I have learned to live with the social responses to the "shifty" feeling that people experience when talking to me. They have a hard time understanding that I can't see what I'm directly looking at. So for me to get a full picture I don't look directly at what I am trying to see but look at many points around the subject. This lack of direct eye contact and almost nervous flitting around makes others nervous and assume things about you.
To be honest, as it has been this way for 30+ years I have learned to control it somewhat and as mentioned the brain does amazing things to compensate. Unlike the picture, I don't have any black spots. For me the view is more like a distortion in the centre of my vision for my dominant eye. It is hard to notice the missing portion except in certain circumstances.
I haven't done anything with lasers to myself (or others) and I don't plan on risking it. Just ask my young son. He knows what a laser is and that you don't point it at people or shiny things. (We don't have pets so that will be another lesson.) For 2 years old he's proving to be very wise. Soon he may be allowed to handle something bigger than a dollar store cheapy red. (the "thumbs up" diffraction head is his favorite.)
Mostly I just tell people about my vision issues and leave it up to them.

So yeah, I know of what you speak, personally.
That is why I'm so big on eye safety here.
:tsk:
 
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fixitiwill

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Some responses:

Magmabeam: I will see if I can give you a report, but since I have not seen an optometrist in years, it is not likely. While nearly all the veterans and many of the newcomers do not doubt the power and danger, many of them underestimate the problem. The problem is that the damage is not at all apparent immediately. In fact the damage does not manifest itself in a sudden and apparent way ever! (unless we are talking 20W lasers). Until one day you realize your vision is nothing like it used to be. :oops:

Lookup macular degeneration. There are 2 types. One of them is permanent and can not be 'fixed' - this is the kind of damage that lasers can cause. Ironically, the non-permanent kind, caused by processes other than lasers, can often be 'fixed' using lasers.

Eudaimonium: You got me. I was a little abrupt when I named the thread. I have to admit, that fun is the reason I like lasers, too. My apologies, I don't have any argument with what you have said. I guess I just felt the need to mention a personal account since most of the warnings that are posted here are not first hand.:eek:

kiyoukan: I have a feeling that you are the exception to the rule. I would generally not count on an improvement, but since it did good in your case, bravo!:beer:

Shifty: All I can says is 'Thank you, you know what I mean'. It's something that you can learn to live with, you know, without a cane or a dog, but it doesn't mean it's fun. And like you have said, some of the side-effects can be very unexpected.:thanks:
 

Eudaimonium

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Re-reading what you said, I realise all of the opening post's words are your own.

I thought you were re-posting something you saw somewhere.

My apologies if you got offended in any way by my post.

However, I do hold somewhat a bitter attitude towards all the "Goggles or die" stances most people are promoting here. You also fit in there.

What happens is the little thing called "human psyche" which is a bitch on its own, gets in the way of reasoning. See, not so long ago, an experiment was done to see how well the implementation of various safety measures in a car affected the number of accidents happening. Seat belts, ABS, that sort of thing.
You know what they found out? Number of injured and killed practically wasn't affected at all.

How so, you may ask? Well, it's the feeling of safety that's playing with us. See, scientists have concluded that, the more safety measures you've got to keep you safe, you keep doing more risky stuff to offset the feeling into it's natural balance.
You have ABS and seatbelts, you tend to take more risks while driving. The moment some computers start monitoring how do you drive, everybody will be reading newspapers at the wheel.

Same thing with safety goggles here. You've got them on - feeling of total safety. Result? You don't watch where do you point the laser. Moment somebody else enters the room, wants to see the laser, you will have hard time watching out you don't do something stupid and get somebody blind.

I have never, and will never, wear goggles while pointing my 400mW green and 1W blue lasers around my room. Because when you do, whole "pointing" thing becomes somewhat a moot point, huh?

I only wear them while burning something up close, or alligning the galvos and dichros.

I do not consider that the guy buying a 50mW green laser needs to be advised of buying safety goggles. First, they'll cost more than laser itself (imagine having to buy an ABS upgrade which costs, example, $10,000 for a $5,000 used car), Second- It's again, a moot point because you cannot burn with 50mW laser.

Instead, he should be advised of some common sense measures such as taking some god-damn care and not being a dumbass with it.
 
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Misanthrop

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Re-reading what you said, I realise all of the opening post's words are your own.

I thought you were re-posting something you saw somewhere.

My apologies if you got offended in any way by my post.

However, I do hold somewhat a bitter attitude towards all the "Goggles or die" stances most people are promoting here. You also fit in there.

What happens is the little thing called "human psyche" which is a bitch on its own, gets in the way of reasoning. See, not so long ago, an experiment was done to see how well the implementation of various safety measures in a car affected the number of accidents happening. Seat belts, ABS, that sort of thing.
You know what they found out? Number of injured and killed practically wasn't affected at all.

How so, you may ask? Well, it's the feeling of safety that's playing with us. See, scientists have concluded that, the more safety measures you've got to keep you safe, you keep doing more risky stuff to offset the feeling into it's natural balance.
You have ABS and seatbelts, you tend to take more risks while driving. The moment some computers start monitoring how do you drive, everybody will be reading newspapers at the wheel.

Same thing with safety goggles here. You've got them on - feeling of total safety. Result? You don't watch where do you point the laser. Moment somebody else enters the room, wants to see the laser, you will have hard time watching out you don't do something stupid and get somebody blind.

I have never, and will never, wear goggles while pointing my 400mW green and 1W blue lasers around my room. Because when you do, whole "pointing" thing becomes somewhat a moot point, huh?

I only wear them while burning something up close, or alligning the galvos and dichros.

I do not consider that the guy buying a 50mW green laser needs to be advised of buying safety goggles. First, they'll cost more than laser itself (imagine having to buy an ABS upgrade which costs, example, $10,000 for a $5,000 used car), Second- It's again, a moot point because you cannot burn with 50mW laser.

Instead, he should be advised of some common sense measures such as taking some god-damn care and not being a dumbass with it.

Nuff said.
 
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fixitiwill

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Eudaimonium: Hmmm.... I do see what you are saying, and to tell the truth, I agree far more than you may believe. I still do not use goggles for daytime 'lasering' or pointing. I am trying to make a point that may often go underestimated, more importantly, under reported due to embarrassment or pride. It is a very fine and difficult distinction to make. Yes, those of us with literally decades of experience have no problem making that distinction, but what of the KipKay acolytes? I am trying to show them that it is far too easy to cross that line, and not even know it.
I took no offence to what you said, I know this is a discussion; it takes a lot to offend me:)
The thing is that safety goggles do take a (way) back seat to the lasers themselves. Especially when it is so difficult to see the damage that can be done versus the cost of protection. It is even harder to find someone willing to 'fess-up' to the damage they have already caused! Let's face it, if condoms cost $20 at the very least, how many more pregnancies would there be?
So I plead with you, let this example stand.
I don't just come with a warning. Here is a REALLY inexpensive solution (at least for 445nm):
I have experimented with about a dozen safety glasses to see how they fare against lasers. None of these are laser rated! None of them did very much to mitigate the brightness of the spot, either. (I use the term brightness in it's technical sense)
Except for one.
Most of us have been to Harbor Freight, no? Here is the result I obtained from a pair of their yellow safety glasses I bought for $2 !!!! I'm not going to provide a link, because they could in fact source them from many different suppliers, with many different results. Basically, YMMV!
Before:


After:


The glasses:


To be honest, the impression one gets when visiting the LPF is that of 'Get goggles or go away!' So sorry if I go over the edge, Misanthrop, but that 'nuff said' doesn't offer a whole lot of insight other than to say you agree. Please, elaborate, that would be much more helpful. I'm not saying I disagree with you, truly, I'm not.
 

Eudaimonium

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You have made an oustanding point, and I agree with you fully (on 'fess-up' part, price, Kipkay uhh, followers, and "nuff said" posts).

Speaking of incredibly cheap goggles, check out this video of mine:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBNh0tvXtkU

The goggles there are some of the BEST I have ever seen, reduction in brightness of the environment is practically non-existent, but the laser dot, like it's photo-shopped out of the world. And they cost like $4! I got them from Bill (member's name here is billg519), great guy, he said he even got a better deal lately on the since he's buying a lot of them at the local store. I immediately bought 3 more from him.

We should have a thread for that, incredibly cheap but outstanding goggles.
 
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fixitiwill

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I am glad we agree, Eudaimonium. I also agree that a thread such as you have described would be very helpful. My only problem is that it is near anathema to start such a thread if you aren't a 'long-timer' here. (this is probably a good thing, in most circumstances). If you start the thread, or someone else with a long history here, I will be one of the first proponent posters.

I just watched your video. Excellent! I think our glasses are probably made of the same material. Who says you can't protect your eyes for cheap.
 
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Eudaimonium

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It really does take a certain amount of shallowness in a person to judge another forum's members intentions and knowledge solely on their join date.

I will see if I can compile some nice information to open the post with (that example with car safety, I have to dig up the actual info to back up my claims, so people won't think I'm making it up).
 

fixitiwill

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I wouldn't necessarily call it shallow, though that is definitely how it can feel when you are the new kid on the block. It is all for a good cause though.:beer:
 

Eudaimonium

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What I meant was, if you started the thread, it doesn't matter jacksh*t when you joined or what history do you have on LPF, as long as the info provided in the post is correct. So, as far as I'm concerned, you could've started a thread on the goggles (or anything else, for that matter), as well as anybody else.

However, that's just me, there are people out there who maybe would mind insignificant stuff such as join dates, reputation points, whatever.

But to cut the long story short, I'll see if I can make something. I've actually wanted to do that for some time now, "Wear goggles" has almost become, as Moh has wonderfully put it, magical answer for anything now.
 

magmabeam

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I have never, and will never, wear goggles while pointing my 400mW green and 1W blue lasers around my room. Because when you do, whole "pointing" thing becomes somewhat a moot point, huh?
You either know what you are doing or are completely mad. Is your room all black or something?
 




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