Children do not always realize the danger. They play innocently and it’s up to the parents to make sure they stay safe. We teach children to look at the road before crossing, to always hold their parents’ hand, not to put objects in their mouths… But sometimes, you can’t prevent an accident from happening. That of the young boy Jonny Marshall, for example, very clever are those who could have foreseen it.
The young boy buys a laser pen
It all starts at Jonny’s sister’s school fair. While the boy is having fun and discovering the different stalls, he sees a toy that inspires him very much. A laser pointer. Like many boys his age, Jonny absolutely wants to bring this laser home to have fun, alone or with friends. His parents initially refuse. But faced with the insistence of their boy, and also because the price is low, they end up giving in. They finally accept that the boy buys himself this laser pointer with his pocket money.
But once the boy had the laser pointer in his hands, he had a bad reflex. He decides to point the laser pen at eye level, probably to see the laser in question. But the consequences on his life are immediate and irreversible. The object Jonny is holding burns his retina in just a quarter of a second. The boy loses 75% of his sight.
The boy’s mother wants to ban the object for sale
This accident should, logically, never have happened. Quite simply because, as the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health reminds us, laser pens of this type have an average of 3 to 5 milliwatts. They therefore cannot burn the cornea. But some items sometimes come with higher power output. And these can cause vision problems as serious as the one that now affects the young boy.
Angela Marshall, Jonny’s mother, does not want to stop there. Since her son’s accident, she has been fighting to get this type of toy banned. Because if the majority of objects respect the conditions, some go beyond and can ruin the lives of users forever. In parallel with her fight, the boy’s mother organizes prevention campaigns. She wants to alert the general public to the dangers of laser pens.
Certain types of lasers that are too powerful are now prohibited
As noted with the story of the little boy, lasers can cause eye damage and irreversible retinal burns. This is due to their radiation and electromagnetic power which is extremely concentrated.
The power of a laser simply depends on its output performance in watt (W) or milliwatt (mW). The European Union divides laser devices into seven classes: 1, 1M, 2, 2M, 3R, 3B and 4. These classification criteria are made according to the power and the wavelength emitted by the laser device. The higher the number, the greater the risk.
Indeed, and this is not an urban legend, some lasers are so powerful that they can target planes flying 400 m above the ground. Moreover, more than 200 complaints were filed by pilots who were victims of lasers in 2013. Furthermore, the sad case of little boy Jonny is not unique. A few years ago, after an evening at the Duke’s Club in Lille, three people who suffered eye injuries filed a complaint.
You now know the risks of these devices. It is obviously not recommended to let children have them. This also applies to adults. To ensure that Jonny’s case remains sadly historic and does not become trivialized over the years. Especially when we know that the eye damage caused is irreversible. Protect your eyes, retina and sight. You can do without a laser, but not your eyes.