A Corby mother is warning parents to be aware of “the hidden dangers” of laser pens after her son’s eyesight was permanently damaged from playing with one.
Carlo Chiriatti, 12, unknowingly burned the retinas in both eyes after he purchased a laser pen while abroad on holiday.
The damage was only picked up during a routine eye appointment at Davis Optometrists, which has branches across Northamptonshire and Leicestershire.
Carlo’s mother Angela O’Neill said: “I had no idea laser pens could do so much damage to the eyes.
“If we had known, we’d never have let him buy one.
“The damage was slight when it was detected so Carlo hadn’t complained of any issues, but thank goodness it got picked up when it did.”
Aiden Smith from the Market Harborough branch noticed something unusual during a pre-scheduled appointment and referred the schoolboy to an eye specialist in Birmingham.
He said: “It was clear after taking a close look at Carlo’s eyes that he had suffered some sort of damage.
“I could see there were slight burns to the surface of the eye and the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, had been damaged.
“Although Carlo has been lucky enough not to have suffered from any symptoms yet, the damage he has incurred is irreversible will mean he’ll more than likely need glasses when he’s older.
“It’s important everyone understands misusing these laser products can be devastating for your eye health and sight.”
Angela said: “I was distraught to find out he’d damaged his eyes. It’s not as if he had even been shining it directly into his face.
“The damage was done because the light is so strong that when it’s pointed at a window, the beam reflects back and burns the eye.
“I want every parent to know about the hidden dangers of these devices which children get hold of so easily while on holiday.”
Although laser pens in the UK are not banned, it is an offence to shine the beam into people’s eyes, at cars or aircraft.
The Health Protection Agency warn that high power green laser pointers can cause permanent scotomas, or blind spots, as a result of damage to the retina.
The organisation has also stated that laser products, which are sold to the public for use as laser pointers, should be restricted to devices with laser power less than 1 milliwatt.