The New Pretender: A Large UK Case Series of Paediatric Retinal Injuries Secondary to Hand-held Lasers

Naz Raoof

Meeting:  2015 RANZCO


Date:      -

Session Title: Neuro-Ophthalmology/Paediatrics Rapid Fire

Session Time:      -


Hand-held lasers, from street vendors/internet market-places, have the capacity to cause serious retinal injury. While New Zealand restricts the import of devices exceeding 1 mW in power, such restrictions are not common internationally and difficult to enforce.† We report our experience of patients with laser-induced†retinal injuries at a large paediatric referral centre (Moorfields Eye Hospital, UK).


Patients were identified from our electronic patient record system (2011 to present).A retrospective case-notes review was undertaken.


We identified 16 affected paediatric patients, with 12 males (75%) and 4 females and a mean age of 12.6 years (range 9-16) There were 9 bilateral cases.† All children were from the UK, although 5 injuries (31%) were sustained abroad. Diagnostic delay was common; 5 children (31%) were referred as suspected retinal dystrophies.† Only 8†children (50%) admitted to shining a laser device into their eye, although 7 other children admitted to playing with laser devices. The mean logMAR visual acuity at presentation was 0.300 (range -0.2 – 1.60). †OCT and imaging findings will be discussed and are available for 15 patients.


This is, to our knowledge, the largest single-centre case series of children who have sustained retinal injuries secondary to hand-held lasers. Clinicians should be alert to the characteristic appearance of injuries, as such injuries can be sustained abroad, often at holiday destinations As there is commonly a delay in presentation and a vague history, the diagnosis can be challenging and likely remains under-reported.