Skip to content

Retinal burns from laser pointers: a risk in children with behavioural problems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-504
Number of pages13
JournalEye
Volume33
Early online date13 Dec 2018
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 4 Nov 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 13 Dec 2018
DatePublished (current) - 13 Dec 2018

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To explore self-inflicted retinal burns from laser pointers in children.

METHODS: Literature review of laser pointer retinal injuries in childhood and online survey of UK Consultant Ophthalmologists. A cohort of local children with self-inflicted injury is described. The matter is topical. We review progress in recent legislation and policy change in the UK.

RESULTS: Four of 77 case reports of laser burns in childhood analysed reported psychological or behavioural issues. Three of four children in our cohort had such issues. Delay in diagnosis occurred in two of our patients. Structural retinal damage persisted for over 12 months in all four children (seven eyes). Our survey of UK ophthalmologists found 159 cases of injury (85% male), 80% under 20 years of age. The majority of the laser pointers were purchased online. Many patients (36%) suffered moderate vision loss (6/18 to 6/60 Snellen), while 17% (at least 11 patients) suffered severe vision loss (<6/60 Snellen).

CONCLUSION: We highlight the risk of macular damage and vision loss from handheld lasers specifically in children with behavioural, learning or mental health issues. The diagnosis may be difficult or delayed in such children. In children with uncertain macular changes, ophthalmologists should explore the history for possible instances of exposure to handheld lasers pointers. Regulatory authorities and manufacturers of handheld lasers need to be aware of the risk to children. Furthermore, there is a need to better inform parents, carers and teachers of the risk of ocular self-injury from such lasers pointers.

Download statistics

No data available

Documents

Documents

  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Nature at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41433-018-0276-z . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 309 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY-NC

DOI

View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups