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Retinal damage induced by mirror-reflected light from a laser pointer
  1. Solon Thanos1,
  2. Michael R R Böhm2,
  3. Melissa Meyer zu Hörste3,
  4. Peter-Fritz Schmidt4
  1. 1Institute of Experimental Ophthalmology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
  2. 2Institute of Experimental Ophthalmology, Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster, Münster, Germany
  3. 3Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  4. 4Institute of Forensic Medicine, Westphalian Wilhelms University of Münster, Münster, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Professor Solon Thanos, solon{at}


The safety of laser pointers is a major public health issue since class I and II laser pointers are available worldwide and used as toys by children despite several reports cautioning such use. Here we present the first case of retinal injury caused by the laser beam of a toy laser pointer operated by a school boy and directed via the rear-view mirror of a bus into the eye of the driver. This case emphasises the great importance of cautious and appropriate use of low-energy laser pointers. Laser pointers of any class should not be made available to children because they are unlikely to understand the risks of such lasers when using them in play.

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