If you’re a Star Wars fan and lucky enough to to have received a handheld blue laser for Christmas, beware. While you may be geeking out with your new, light saber-like toy, keep in mind that your laser can turn into a weapon if you aren’t careful.
Johns Hopkins recently sent out a press release reminding consumers that lasers aren’t child’s play and laser exposure can permanently damage a person’s eyesight. In addition, laser manufacturers themselves note that a poorly handled laser can start fires or burn a person’s skin. The press release was triggered by a the publication of Saudi Arabian study documenting numerous instances of eye injury caused by blue lasers. In most of the cases, individuals with eye injuries sought medical treatment right away and were able to regain lost eyesight, though some suffered permanent damage to the retina, resulting in partial blindness.
Individuals have also been harmed while handling a laser in a room with a mirror: The reflected light was so powerful that it caused vision damage.
If you are a gamer or serious sci-fi fan, keep in mind that while these lasers look really cool, they can also cause serious damage. Some laser companies have even developed lasers with locks that prevent children or teens from using your laser inappropriately. It is also important to wear eye protection that has been approved for use with your laser.