A case series of laser-induced maculopathy in children and young adults secondary to the use of high powered hand held laser devices

Poster Details

First Author: C.Putri UK

Co Author(s):    F. Quhill                             

Abstract Details


To describe a single-centre case series of laser-induced maculopathy secondary to the use of laser devices such as handheld laser pens.


Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK


Retrospective case series in which seven children and young adults (10 eyes) with laser-induced maculopathy secondary to high powered handheld laser devices were identified from electronic patient record. Scanned casenotes, digital fundus photography and optical coherence tomography (OCT) were reviewed.


77% (n=5) aged between 0-16 years old and 23% (n=2) aged above 16 years at presentation, with age range between 8-27 years of age. 6 male and 1 female patients were identified. The mean visual acuity at presentation was 0.20 (6/9.5) (range -0.20 [6/38] to 0.70 [6/30]). 90% (n= 9 eyes) had mild visual impairment (0.20 [6/9.5] to 0. 60 [6/24]) and 10% (n= 1 eye) had moderate visual impairment (>0.60 [6/24] to 0.80 [6/38]) at presentation. The mean visual acuity at latest clinic follow up was 0.17 (6/9) (range 0.00 [6/6] to 0.50 [6/19]) and all patients were identified to have mild visual impairment. Most of our patients (77%) experienced improvement in vision over time without any treatment. Most of the time, the injury was self-inflicted (57%) and less frequently inflicted by others. Most common presenting symptom was reduced vision (71%) and less frequently patients experienced micropsia, monocular diplopia or asymptomatic. Onset of visual symptoms range from 1 week to 12 years following exposure to laser devices. 1 child eventually developed choroidal neovascularisation (CNV), which necessitated treatment with multiple Lucentis injections. 1 child was functionally affected by his visual impairment and reported difficulties at school.


Laser-induced maculopathy secondary to the use of high powered handheld laser pen, usually bought from the internet, has visual implications ranging from mild visual impairment to more severe injuries that may result in life changing visual deficits. These laser devices of various laser power are readily available for purchase by general public and many are not aware of their potential hazard. Therefore it is important to raise awareness for improved laser devices regulation by authorities and amongst the general public, especially parents and children, to take steps to prevent retinal injuries secondary to laser devices.

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