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Laser use concern

AOP concerns over the inappropriate use of lasers devices and the risk of serious eye damage

19 Feb 2016

We’re concerned that inappropriate use of lasers at close proximity can cause serious damage to the eyes and also endanger passengers if a pilot or driver is the subject of a laser attack.

Henry Leonard, AOP Clinical and Regulatory Officer, comments on the dangers around laser misuse, including permanent loss of vision, in our latest video.

Mr Leonard said: “We have been concerned for some time that inappropriate use of lasers at close proximity can cause serious damage to the eyes, resulting in permanent loss of vision and also endanger passengers if, for example, a pilot or driver is the subject of a laser attack. 

The danger comes from direct viewing of the concentrated beam of light which can then burn the retina at the back of the eye. The effect of looking at a laser can also cause someone to feel dazzled, similar to an extreme case of glare that some motorists may experience on the roads. 

“As a wider issue, it’s important for parents to know that laser pointers - sometimes referred to as laser pens - are not toys. We’re aware of the recent case of a young boy whose eye was damaged with a laser pen bought at a Christmas fair and the potential risk to air passengers highlighted by the recent Virgin Atlantic incident. There are a range of different strengths of lasers freely on sale to the public, all of which pose a potential risk to the user and others. Whatever the strength, laser pens should never be aimed at people’s eyes, or at vehicles or aircraft.”


Read more news stories from the AOP.