CBS New York
August 7, 2013
Feds Issue Warning On Dangers Associated With Laser Light Toys
Featuring:Dr. Majida Gaffar, Ophthalmologist, North Shore-LIJ Health System
MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Changes may be coming to your children’s favorite toys. The Food and Drug Administration is announcing new crackdowns and regulations involving “laser” toys.
As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday, they could be a danger to your child’s eyesight.
Laura Cinotti of New Hyde Park said she never would have bought her sons flashing-light laser toys if she’d known about a potential risk to their eyesight.
“I would think they would do more research before they put it into the market, more data, before they allowed children to use something that would be dangerous to their eyes,” Cinotti said.
“If they pose any threat or danger to our children, they should be taken off the market,” added Bob Boland of Garden City.
Multiple Long Island residents have been arrested over the past year for aiming real lasers into the eyes of aviators, creating a powerful, targeted beam of electronic radiation. Several pilots were treated for retinal burns.
Now, the FDA is warning parents that even low-level laser in toy guns, tops, and sabers could create serious injuries to anyone within the range of the laser beam.
“Kids think it’s funny to shine it in their little brother or sister’s eyes and parents don’t realize that shining for even a second — the exact spot — can cause visual damage,” said Dr. Majida Gaffar of North Shore-LIJ Medical Center.
Doctors say laser injuries don’t usually hurt, and vision can deteriorate over time.
Eye injuries caused by laser light may go unnoticed for days, even weeks, and could be permanent.
The FDA said never aim a laser at people or animals. Laser light energy is more hazardous than staring directly into the sun, the agency added.
Also, do not aim a laser at a reflective surface. A laser beam of light can cause serious accidents when aimed at motorists, the agency said.
“I don’t often use them, but I have two of them,” 7-year-old Henry Catterfield said.
Reputable companies are following FDA guidelines that toys not exceed “limits of class 1,” which is the lowest level of radiation in regulated toys.
The FDA says lasers have increased significantly in power, while going down in price.