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US: Injury reported from Casio-sourced 630mW diode

A laser hobbyist reported injuring himself with a 630mW “keychain” laser emitting at 445 nm. He had a brief, accidental exposure when he lost his grip on the laser and it crossed a mirror. It hit directly in his left eye. He reported being flashblinded for 30 seconds and had an afterimage for 10 minutes, with the center “as black as black could be”. The black spot stayed for about 12 hours.

More than two weeks after the accident, he reports “... there are no identifiable irregularities. I am certain there is permanent damage in the spot, but it is so far out in [my] peripheral vision, that it is just not noticeable. So I have officially ceased worrying about it. Lesson learned.”
The laser was homemade from a diode removed from a Casio data projector sold at office supply stores. In his original post, he said it was bought from a “harvester”: a person who buys Casio projectors for around $800 and then sells the 24 diodes inside for $46 each. Later, the hobbyist clarified to LaserPointerSafety.com that this particular diode did not come from that supplier, but from a different eBay seller.

Self-reported injury on LaserPointerForums.com at
this page. See Update below explaining that the original posts by “FarewelltoKings” were later removed. Other posts about the incident remain on the page.

See also this
warning from Casio about misuse of their laser diodes. Additional information on Casio diode harvesting is in our June 2010 alert, and in the “If you are writing a laser law...” page (scroll down to the photo of the projector).

Update, Dec. 11: The laser hobbyist “FarewelltoKings” has removed his original posts. He told LaserPointerSafety.com that the story was exaggerated “to remind people to always be careful around mirrors.” He also said the laser involved was not from the “harvester” supplier mentioned above, but was from an eBay-purchased diode that he assembled into a laser himself.)