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  • Writer's pictureEast Yorkshire Eye Surgery

Red Card for the Green Light

Laser Safety for your Eyes

The shocking television image of a green laser light shining on goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s face last night during the Euro 2020 semi-final was truly disappointing.

As an ophthalmologist I am aware of cases where accidents or negligent use of lasers have resulted in irreversible visual damage. These have included lasers bought from the internet for the purpose of tattoo removal and even a school child having been given one by a peer. Certain types of laser, if used incorrectly, can cause a foveal burn. This is the area in the centre of the retina, the part of the eye that converts light into electronic messages to the brain that are then perceived as sight. Injury to this area can result in a central blind spot called a scotoma, which essentially means that the patient will permanently have a distortion in the centre of their vision.

Thankfully Schmeichel appears unharmed and these cases are fortunately rare in my experience, however last night’s occurrence does prompt me to encourage awareness and responsibility when purchasing or using a laser. Not all lasers are dangerous of course, and actually we do use lasers in eye surgery to correct vison, under strict conditions following all safety guidelines. There are lots of different types and classes of lasers that you may encounter, to find out more there is helpful guidance on the Government Website entitled Laser radiation: safety advice.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the final!

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