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Can laser guns or toys cause eye injury or blindness? (Query)

Can laser guns or toys cause eye injury or blindness? (Query)

If you have been gifting laser toys to kids, then read what an ophthalmologist has to say about laser toys and guns.

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Updated : August 4, 2016 6:31 PM IST

Read this in HINDI

Hi, I am a parent of a 5-year-old kid who loves playing with laser toys and guns. Recently, my cousin warned us that laser toys could cause blindness in children and even in adults. Is this true? Should I stop my kid from playing with these toys?

The query is answered by Dr Sanjiv Gupta, Additional Director, Department of Ophthalmology, Jaypee Hospital Noida.

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It is a common belief that laser toys cause vision problems and, in extreme cases, blindness. However, this is not entirely true. It is important to look at the power of the laser used. In general, type 1 lasers, which are commonly used in toys, have a power output of less than 0.4 milliwatts, which doesn t cause any harm to the retina. However, type 2 or 3 lasers, which are commonly used in laser pointers (laser pens used for presentation), can be harmful. These lasers have a power of around 1 to 5 milliwatts, which can adversely affect the retina and cause eye injuries. While taking precautions with such laser guns to protect your kid, it is also important to read up on these eye conditions in children that can go unnoticed!

According to the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration), laser in toys can cause serious eye injuries and blindness if they are pointed straight at the eyes. Hence, it is important to avoid flashing laser light into the eyes. Also, check the description of the toy and the type of laser used to ensure its power is in the permissible limit. A 1997 research paper published in the journal Ophthalmology stated that continuous exposure to light from a strong laser pointer can lead to retinal damage in less than 10 seconds. Worried about your kid's eyesight? Read up these common signs that your kid has vision problems.

Ensure that your kid is playing with a laser toy under your supervision. Ask him not to aim at the eyes directly. Also, check the labels and instructions on the toys before buying them to ensure that they are safe. It is not just laser guns you need to be careful about. Read up on 5 reasons gadgets could be ruining your child s brain.

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