Lasers Found in Toys Could Cause Serious Injury and Even Blindness

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on  August 17, 2013 at 11:21 AM Health In Focus
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That toy car you just picked up for your 5-year old kid may make his day, but that, and many other toys could be causing permanent damage to your child's eyes.
Lasers Found in Toys Could Cause Serious Injury and Even Blindness
Lasers Found in Toys Could Cause Serious Injury and Even Blindness

The US Food and Drug Administration has been recently issued a warning emphasizing how laser lights emitted from kid's toys such as spinning tops, light sabers and laser gun could cause irreparable damage to kids eyes.

"A beam shone directly into a person's eye can injure it in an instant, especially if the laser is a powerful one," health promotion officer at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Dan Hewett, explained in a press release.

The health authorities further claim that this damage could go unnoticed for many weeks, and could be permanent and irreversible too. People buy the toys assuming they are harmless and often fall prey to advertising and marketing strategies.

In particular, hand-held lasers that create optical effects, spinning tops that project beams and toy guns that aim using a laser beam are the most dangerous when it comes to harmful effects on the eyes.

Parents should take up the initiative to minimize the exposure of such toys to children considering that now, the power of lasers has increased and the prices have dropped.

Hewett further emphasized on how parents that buy laser toys for their kids should keep in mind to not go beyond the Class 1 limits.

According to the FDA, laser toys shouldn't be aimed at people or animals, and shouldn't be pointed at any reflective surfaces. It is also believed that sometimes, laser light could be worse than staring directly into the sun.

"If you buy a laser toy or pointer and you don't see this information in the labeling, it's best not to make any assumptions about its safety," Hewett added.

Dr Jerald Bovino from the American Retina Foundation explained further how the eye reacts and bears with the exposure to a laser beam. "It is going to the fovea, the center of the retina," he said.

The darker pigment in the fovea of the eye then absorbs the light, thereby quickly raising the temperature of the retina in a way comparable to a black car seat that gets hot as it absorbs health from the sun.

Spreading public awareness about the harmful effects of laser light emitting toys and improving standards can help prevent the occurrence of many eye disorders among children.

Source: Medindia

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