Inexpensive and extremely powerful lasers that are incorporated in toys are now available for purchase on the Internet. Laser pointers used for presentations or as toys typically have outputs of 5 milliwatts (mW) or less, usually in the red wavelength. These lasers are generally harmless to the human eye in short exposures. Ophthalmic lasers for treating diabetic retinopathy typically have a power output of 50 to 100 mW and come in a variety of wavelengths, depending on the clinical application. If misused, the lasers are capable of causing severe eye damage. Such lasers are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not available for public use. However, foreign companies sell lasers over the Internet that have outputs of up to 200 mW or more in dangerous green wavelengths.
These lasers can cause eye injuries plus confusion for eye doctors. Children who suffer eye damage from lasers may be misdiagnosed with genetic eye disorders and undergo expensive and unnecessary testing. It’s never advisable for children to play with lasers, but it’s especially worrisome that these devices are becoming more dangerous. The increased accessibility and stronger power of these devices most likely explains the sizable number of cases of eye damage in children being reported over the past two years.
If you or someone you know needs information or help with a laser toy eye injury in children please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+ or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.
The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.