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Laser Pointers Can Lead to Blindness

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Laser pointers bought cheaply in stores are a risk to eyesight — with one pointer discovered to be 127 instances over the Australian legal limit. RMIT school researchers in Melbourne, Australia, have found out that green lasers have been most unsafe, with all four units validated failing Australian specifications.

Now they are calling on the government to consider banning green lasers. In the meantime, they are recommending authorities to put in stringent checking out and quality control.

Dr Kate Fox, a senior lecturer in RMIT’s school of Engineering, mentioned the laser pointers would be bought by anyone, together with youngsters, over-the-counter or online. She said, All the green laser pointers we tested were from 51 to 127 times over the 1 milliwatt government safety limit. At that upper level, the beam would cause catastrophic retinal damage.

Fox, working with RMIT ophthalmologists, Adjunct Associate Professor Marc Sarossy and Alfred Hospital doctor Matthew Hao Lee, tested 4 models of green laser pointer and 4 models of red. Sarossy further added, Three of the four red models were within safety limits. There can still be some risk, but our normal response to visible light is to blink and turn away — and that’s usually enough to avoid any permanent damage. But green lasers produce much more infrared radiation, which does not trigger our natural blink and aversion responses. Green lasers also produce a much more focused spot than red lasers, with a higher risk of damaging the retina.

The study staff has found out that imported laser pointers were poorly made, with manufacturers tempted to bypass installing infrared-blocking off filters to keep down expenditures. Fox stated that their findings raised important public protection questions and referred to organizations like the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists to join their crusade. The staff’s research were presented at the IEEE Engineers in Medicine and Biology Society conference in Orlando, Florida, on August 18.

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