What Are the Dangers of Laser Pens?

Written by rebekah worsham
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What Are the Dangers of Laser Pens?
Laser pens, while fascinating, can pose serious dangers. (laser battle image by Yali Shi from Fotolia.com)

Laser pens have long been given as high-tech novelty gifts and come in a wide variety of colours and sizes. The lasers that are emitted from these laser pens, however have been the subject of controversy for several years. Health care experts warn that the novelty factor of laser pens may lead consumers to be nonchalant about their potentially harmful side effects.

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Temporary Blindness

One of the most common side effects of laser pens is temporary blindness. Whenever the eye is exposed to a bright light, as a defence mechanism the eye goes out of focus and the vision goes dark for a moment or two. This can be of great concern if a person is exposed to the brightness of a laser pen while walking down stairs, driving an automobile or motorcycle, or operating machinery, such as a lawnmower or fork lift. Experts warn that laser pens are not toys and should not be used by children who may be oblivious to their effects.

Perminently Damaged Retinas

The light emitted from a laser pen can be more damaging to the eye than the effects of staring directly at the sun. According to an article published by Medicine Net, experts who have studied the effects of lasers on the eye have reported severe eye damage including permanent damage to the retina. Serious cases of damage to the retina can lead to long-term vision damage or even blindness. Experts state that even short-term exposure to light from a laser pen directly in the eye can cause eye discomfort and vision difficulties that can last for several days.

Accidents and Injuries

In addition to the physical damage that can result from exposure to laser pens, there are other dangers associated with their usage. According to a report published by Princeton University, police officers have reported drawing their guns in response to a laser pen pointed in their direction. This is because the light from a laser pen is easily confused with a gun site. Laser pens pointed into the air can even cause temporary distraction and vision impairments to pilots while flying personal or commercial aeroplanes. This is caused by the laser light hitting the aircraft's reflective surface.

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