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Laser Toys Can Cause Permanent Blindness in Children, FDA Warns

By Vishakha Sonawane / Aug 13, 2013 09:55 AM EDT
  • Laser Toys
  • (Photo : REUTERS) Toys such as laser guns, spinning tops and light sabers could cause permanent damage to the eyes, FDA warned.

Laser toys can cause blindness in children, a warning issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states.

Toys such as laser guns, spinning tops and light sabers could cause permanent damage to the eyes, the warning said. The health authorities said that the negative effect of the laser toys can be seen over time.

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Often adults buy laser pointers for use but children buy them for enjoyment.  "A beam shone directly into a person's eye can injure it in an instant, especially if the laser is a powerful one," Dan Hewett, health promotion officer at the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said in a press release.

According to the health authorities, injuries due to laser toys might go unnoticed for weeks and could be permanent. Hewett said that parents and children think that laser toys are harmless just because the advertisers endorse them as playthings

The health authorities said that lasers mounted on toy guns that are used for aiming, spinning tops that project beams while they spin, hand-held lasers used during play as light sabers and lasers intended for entertainment that create optical effects in an open room, are the most harmful.

Furthermore, Hewett said that parents must take precautions and be vigilant whenever their children play with electronic toys. He suggested that people buy laser toys that do not go beyond Class 1 limits.

Lately, the power in lasers has increased and the prices too have fallen.

FDA warned that laser toys should never be aimed or shone at animals or people. They also advised not to point these toys on any reflective surfaces. Sometimes, light energy from a laser can be more harmful than staring directly at the Sun. FDA cautioned that the startling effect of a bright beam of light can cause serious accidents when aimed at a driver in a car or otherwise negatively affect someone who is engaged in other activity (such as playing sports).

"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 concluded.

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