International Ophthalmology

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 293–297 | Cite as

Laser pointer induced macular damage: case report and mini review

  • Kiran Turaka
  • J. Shepard Bryan
  • Alan J. Gordon
  • Rahul Reddy
  • Henry M. KwongJr.
  • Clive H. Sell
Case Report


To report laser pointer induced damage to retina and choroid and briefly review literature. A case report of a 13-year old Caucasian boy developed blurry central vision and central scotoma in right eye (OD). He was exposed for one minute to class IIIA green laser pointer of 650 nm wavelength and 5 mW power. Clinical examination showed a grayish lesion in foveal region. Ancillary testing revealed disruption of the retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) layer in foveal region and indocyanine green angiography demonstrated evidence of choroidal hypofluorescence suggestive of choroidal infarction in OD. Visual acuity improved from 20/100 to 20/60 in one day and he was treated with tapering doses of oral prednisolone (40 mg) for 3 weeks. Laser pointer with a power of >5 mW caused damage to RPE in the macula. Children should not be given laser pointers as toys especially those with label of danger instructions.


Laser pointer Macular damage Optical coherence tomography Indocyanine green angiography 


Conflict of interest

Authors have no conflicts of interest with the devices or medication in the paper.


  1. 1. FDA safety notification: risk of eye and skin injuries from high-powered, hand-held lasers used for pointing or entertainment, US Food and Drug Administration
  2. 2.
    Houston S (2011) Aircrew exposure to handheld laser pointers: the potential for retinal damage. Aviat Space Environ Med 82:921–922PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Mainster MA, Stuck BE, Brown J Jr (2004) Assessment of alleged retinal laser injuries. Arch Ophthalmol 122:1210–1217PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Marshall J (1998) The safety of laser pointers: myths and realities. Br J Ophthalmol 82:1335–1338PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Barkana Y, Belkin M (2000) Laser eye injuries. Surv Ophthalmol 44:459–478PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Boosten K, Van Ginderdeuren R, Spileers W, Stalmans I, Wirix M, Van Calster J, Stalmans P (2011) Laser-induced retinal injury following a recreational laser show: two case reports and a clinicopathological study. Bull Soc Belge Ophthalmol 317:11–16Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wyrsch S, Baenninger PB, Schmid MK (2010) Retinal injuries from a handheld laser pointer. N Engl J Med 363:1089–1091PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ziahosseini K, Doris JP, Turner GS (2010) Laser eye injuries. Maculopathy from handheld green diode laser pointer. Br Med J 340:c2982CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sell CH, Bryan JS (1999) Maculopathy from handheld diode laser pointer. Arch Ophthalmol 117:1557–1558PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sethi CS, Grey RH, Hart CD (1999) Laser pointers revisited: a survey of 14 patients attending casualty at the Bristol Eye Hospital. Br J Ophthalmol 83:1164–1167PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ueda T, Kurihara I, Koide R (2011) A case of retinal light damage by green laser pointer (Class IIIB). Jpn J Ophthalmol 55:428–430PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zamir E, Kaiserman I, Chowers I (1999) Laser pointer maculopathy. Am J Ophthalmol 127:728–729PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fujinami K, Yokoi T, Hiraoka M, Nishina S, Azuma N (2010) Choroidal neovascularization in a child following laser pointer-induced macular injury. Jpn J Ophthalmol 54:631–633PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Wong R, Sim D, Rajendram R, Menon G (2007) Class IIIA laser pointer-induced retinal damage captured on optical coherence tomography. Acta Ophthalmol Scand 85:227–228PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Robertson DM, McLaren JW, Salomao DR, Link TP (2005) Retinopathy from a green laser pointer: a clinicopathologic study. Arch Ophthalmol 123:629–633PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Israeli D, Hod Y, Geyer O (2001) Retinal injury induced by laser pointers. Harefuah 140(28–9):86Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Robertson DM, Lim TH, Salomao DR, Link TP, Rowe RL, McLaren JW (2000) Laser pointers and the human eye: a clinicopathologic study. Arch Ophthalmol 118:1686–1691PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Luttrull JK, Hallisey J (1999) Laser pointer-induced macular injury. Am J Ophthalmol 127:95–96PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Almegbel YI (1999) Laser pointer retinopathy. Abstract presented at American Academy of Ophthalmology poster 167Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Moseley H, Tulley FM, McGhee CN (2003) The potential hazard of laser pointers. Lasers Med Sci 18:63–67PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    American National Standards Institute (2007) American national standard for safe use of lasers. Orlando: ANSI® Z136.1-2007, Revision of ANSI Z136.1-2000Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Zuclich JA, Stolarski DJ (2001) Retinal damage induced by red diode laser. Health Phys 81:8–14PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kiran Turaka
    • 1
  • J. Shepard Bryan
    • 1
  • Alan J. Gordon
    • 1
  • Rahul Reddy
    • 1
  • Henry M. KwongJr.
    • 1
  • Clive H. Sell
    • 1
  1. 1.Associated Retina Consultants LtdPhoenixUSA

Personalised recommendations