The mother of a Jewish boy from Bushey Heath whose eyesight was damaged by a “toy” laser pen has urged parents to throw them away – before others get hurt.
Angela Marshall’s call-to-arms comes after doctors at Moorfields Eye Hospital saw her son Jonathan, 8, whose sight may now be permanently damaged.
Laser pointers, often made in Asia, are “sold as pocket money toys but could potentially blind someone,” said the concerned mother, days after Jonathan hurt his eye with a laser bought from a Christmas fair at Edge Grove School in Radlett, despite the head-teacher reportedly asking for them not to be sold.
She took her young son to opticians, where professionals said they could see a black spot on Jonathan’s retina, prompting an urgent visit to Moorfields, where doctors cannot yet say whether his sight will ever fully recover.
“I’m trying to raise awareness of how dangerous these laser pointers really are,” she said. “They come from China and are not tested. A child could cross the line of the laser and within a tenth of a second damage their eye. It could be a baby crawling.”
Marshall has urged parents to “throw away any lasers you have,” adding: “I am campaigning for all classes of laser pointers to be banned.”
Officials from the Department for Business Innovation & Skills are due to hold a meeting about the issue in March but Anna Soubry MP has stated that the products are covered by standard BS EN 60825-1: 1994 Safety of Laser Products.
It is illegal to manufacture the pointers in the UK, but Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden said there was “a worrying loophole” which allows them to be imported into the UK.
“Our government are happy to let these cheap imports come into the country,” said Marshall. “How many more injuries are needed for action to be taken? Words are cheap.”
Hertsmere County Council spokesman Andrew Dawson said: “We are investigating this issue. In the meantime, we would urge people to be aware that there are different strengths of laser and not to aim laser beams at people’s heads and eyes, vehicles or aircraft.”