Are Laser Pointers Safe?
Commercial laser pointers come in different strengths (rated in different classes).
We use a Class II laser module. Class II is a very low-power laser. It is the lowest powered visible laser available.
A Class II laser is considered safe, because the natural blink reflex limits exposure time to less than 0.25 seconds.
Most commercially available office laser pointers and gun sights are Class III or higher. A conventional Class III laser pointer can be 5 times more powerful than a Class II laser.
What is safe:
- It is safe if the laser beam passes across a individual’s eye for a moment
- It is safe to look at the red dot on the communication board.
- It is safe to look at the individual using the pointer.
Common Sense Safety Precautions
Exercise common sense when using a laser pointer.
1. Do not intentionally stare into the beam of laser pointer.
2. Do not intentionally shine the laser pointer directly into the eyes of a person, or an animal.
3. Do not allow children to play with the laser pointer. The laser pointer is not a toy. Children who use a laser pointer for communication should be supervised.
4. Do not point the laser beam into passing cars, airplanes, etc.
In order for a Class II laser to have any lasting impact whatsoever on a individual’s eye, the laser beam would need to be focused onto a SINGLE POINT on the individual's retina for more than several seconds.
That would only happen if:
- The individual facing the laser doesn't blink or close their eyes AT ALL.
- The individual facing the laser doesn't move their head or eyes (i.e. look away).
- The laser beam itself doesn't move (i.e. it stays focused on a single point on the retina)
It is highly unlikely that any of these 3 things would occur.
This information only applies to a Class II laser, not a Class III laser, which can be 5 times more powerful. Class III lasers are what are used for most conventional lasers sold at office supply stores.