Laser technology has seen an unprecedented number of uses after being perfected in recent times with cutting edge applications in low-cost sheet cutting, navigation and precise measurement being some of them. While it is being used in many industries around the world, the health and safety code in these setups ensure that the deadly laser doesn’t harm the workers. But, same cannot be said of these common laser devices that have been introduced in the market mostly used in toys and instruments. Many of these devices are handheld, and people get carried away and abuse them openly. A shocking stat shows that scores of aircraft pilots throughout the world suffer eye damage when targeted by lasers from the ground when flying at a low altitude. Some of them are left with serious consequences and even lose their jobs in the process as well.
Lasers are now bring labelled with safety levels depending on the kind of damage they can do to eyes, but who among us checks the presentation pointer or media player for the Laser type before toying with other people’s eyes? Nobody, I guess. The only ones marked 1 and 2 are deemed safe for the eyes, but we keep using them anyway. We need to realise how dangerous it is to use them without finding out their safety hazard levels. If you can’t find the safety markers, find about the amount of power they use to generate the amplified beam of light. If their energy consumption is less than one milliWatt, they are safe to be used, and if it is greater than this threshold limit, extra care needs to be taken to protect the people around the device and regulate their usage as well. We need to start paying attention to the Laser devices as it may spiral out of control in the future in which the light technology is guaranteed to have a significant place.
There is also a growing misconception about the green lasers that is allowing people to misuse them. For some dubious reason, people have arrived at the fact that green lasers aren’t harmful to the human eye, only red lasers are, which is just nonsense. A recent study shows us that 90% of the green pointers used in the US don’t lie in the 1 or 2 safety levels. In fact, they are producing up to a hundred times more dangerous amplified light than the allowed levels. People need to understand that these green ones are just as bad as the red ones and stop pointing them at each other thinking they are harmless. The FDA and the EU are now working hard to remove these dangerous green lasers from the market, but nothing matches the right level of awareness in this issue that is quite serious. Especially in the case of airline pilots, the laser cannot only damage their eyes, but it can also result in a lapse of concentration that may cost us lives one day.
So, all in all, don’t go for the fancy headlamps, dazzling pointers and toys before researching about the kind of lasers they operate. It is a simple SOP that may save people’s eyes and even lives one day.