When it comes to using a laser at home, business or in school settings, there are a few things you need to know. A laser pointer is a small tool that can project a narrow laser beam. When used properly, lasers can be great tools for pointing at objects that would otherwise be out of reach. Unfortunately, using lasers in ways that were not intended by the original manufacturer can lead to long-term eye injuries. With this in mind, here are 5 tips to keep in mind when using a laser:
1. Never Point Laser Beams at Eyes or Faces
With direct exposure, laser beams can cause long-term damage to your eyes. The amount of damage inflicted will depend largely on factors like how long the eye was exposed to the laser, the strength of the beam and the distance from which the laser was pointed. Even small, low-powered lasers can cause temporary blindness with direct exposure. For these reasons, laser beams should never be pointed directly at the eyes or face while powered on.
2. Refrain From Pointing Lasers at Airplanes
While this should go without saying, a laser should never be pointed at an aircraft. The beam of a low-powered laser can travel more than two miles before fading. Not only is it illegal to point lasers at an aircraft or in its direct flight path, but it is also hazardous.
3. Be Careful When Using Lasers for Stargazing
When stargazing, never point a laser at an unidentified object unless you are certain that it is a star. At a high enough altitude, a slow-moving aircraft can easily be mistaken for a star. When in doubt, use the laser to circle the unidentified object rather than pointing at it directly.
Along those same lines, lasers should never be pointed towards the sky longer than they have to be. While it may not seem like it, laser beams can reach much farther than the human eye can see. Although it may seem harmless to point a laser beam into the sky, the beam could distract or temporarily blind a pilot.
4. Keep Lasers Away From Animals
While video and social media sites may make light of watching a household pet chase the small point of a laser beam, this practice can be very dangerous. Contrary to common belief, laser beams can present a number of health hazards for various types of animals. Although some people find it entertaining to play games with cats or other animals by making them chase a laser, this practice is not recommended. Much like with humans, laser beams can cause both short and long-term eye damage to animals. If beamed while flying, birds can become temporarily blinded leading to serious physical injuries. With this in mind, lasers should be kept away from animals at all times.
5. Do Not Give Lasers to Small Children
To a child, a laser pointer may seem like a fun toy to play with. They may not understand the dangers that this device can pose to them. Eye injuries can occur if the child shines the beam into their eyes or someone else’s. Small, keychain style lasers can easily become choking hazards for small children if left unattended. For these reasons, it is imperative that lasers are kept away from children in the home.
When used properly, lasers can be fun, useful tools in a variety of different settings. They allow users to point at things that would not normally be within their reach. As laser pointers become increasingly popular and accessible, the number of laser-related injuries has continued to rise. Following these 5 safety tips will help you avoid many laser-related injuries.