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Laser Pointers Can Cause Retinal Injury in Children

Although uncommon, vision impairment from these devices can be permanent

eye

THURSDAY, Sept. 1, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Inappropriate use of laser pointers by children as toys can lead to potentially permanent vision loss, according to a case report published online Sept. 1 in Pediatrics.

David Almeida, M.D., Ph.D., an ophthalmologist in private practice in Minneapolis, and colleagues detailed the cases of four boys, aged 9 through 16, whose vision was damaged when they looked directly at laser pointers, either head-on or reflected in a mirror.

The resulting retinal damage caused acute, dramatic symptoms. Three of the four children highlighted in Almeida's report suffered potentially irreversible vision loss. He urged health care professionals, teachers, and parents to educate children about the dangers of laser pointers and to discourage or limit their use.

The cases "bring to light this is happening more frequently," Almeida told HealthDay. "It was previously thought this was a one-in-a-million event. It's still probably a rare to uncommon reaction, but it's not a never reaction."

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