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Parents warned of the risks to eyesight associated with laser pens

4 December 2018

A new survey from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has revealed that a worrying number of adults would consider buying a laser pen as a Christmas present for a child. In the run up to the holiday season one in four (24 per cent) of more than 2,000 people said they would consider the item as a present – however laser pens, also known as laser pointers, have the capacity to do irreparable damage to eyesight.

The Royal College of Ophthalmologist members, Fahd Quhill and Simon Kelly have worked extensively on this issue over the past few years, including raising awareness through media coverage. Talking to RoSPA, Fahd Quhill said: “I have seen too many children and young people whose eyes have been irrevocably damaged, needlessly, due to a laser pen. Many people do not realise the dangers associated with laser pens, but equally, those being sold may be much stronger than stated, so our best advice is not to buy them for children in the first place.”

Sheila Merrill, RoSPA’s public health adviser, said: “We’re urging parents not to buy laser pens for children this Christmas. We know of instances where children and young people have shone them into their eyes, or the eyes of another child, and caused life-long damage. Laser pens have many legitimate uses, but they are not toys and should not be purchased as such. Please don’t give them to a child this Christmas – you will be risking their eyesight.”

The Office Product for Product Safety and Standards is working with RoSPA and a range of stakeholders to raise awareness on the dangers associated with the misuse of laser pens through #LoseTheLasers – a series of online messages – from Monday 3 December.