Greece boy gets a hole in the retina by laser pointer

A nine years old Greece boy reportedly faced a permanent injury in the left eye as he was repeatedly gazing into the green beam of a laser pointer. On further examination of the injury, a big hole was found inside the macula, within the retina. On studying the case more thoroughly, 2 additional injured regions were found under his macular hole.

Holes in the macula are generally treated by surgery, which comes with near about one hundred percent risk of developing cataract formation. The formation of cataract results in blurred vision by making the clear lenses of the eyes cloudy.

In this particular case, as said by Prof. Androudi at the University of Thessaly in Greece, the nerves of the eye, which absorb light rays, were completely damaged as the hole in the macula was caused by laser burn. Androudi, the ophthalmology professor, further said, “This means that even if the surgery would be successful, the boy would not be able to see.”

According to the vision report of the boy, his right eye’s vision measured at 20/20 and his left eye’s vision measured at 20/100. As said by the doctors, the boy with 20/100 visual acuity would require being within twenty feet point focus to view the things that a person having normal vision could view at hundred feet.

The director at the Vision Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Thomas C. Lee, said in a statement, “When you have something as powerful like a laser, it’s so powerful that it is converted to heat like a burn.” Further, Dr. Lee added, “That can leave scar tissue behind and can cause bleeding. The patient can actually get a blind spot right in the middle of the eye. … It’s like a magnifying glass burning a piece of paper. It’s the same thing.”

The United States Food and Drug Administration has restricted vendors to sell laser pointers having more than five milliwatts power all over the U.S. But this restriction is not yet regulated or enforced.  As revealed by the doctors involved in this case, the patient had been gifted the laser pointer as a small toy by his father who had purchased it from one street vendor.

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