A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

If you are hit by a laser beam

“It is common for people to see a bright flash of light and think that they are injured when they really are not. The ophthalmologist has to be somewhat leery of what caused the injury. Was it caused by a laser? Or are you observing a visual anomaly that has been there all along? I recommend referring these patients to an ophthalmologist who has experience with this type of injury.”

Laser injury expert Bruce Stuck, director of the U.S. Army Medical Research Detachment of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research at Brooks Air Force Base.
The information on this page is for persons who have had adverse vision effects after being hit in the eye by a visible continuous-wave laser beam, such as from a laser pointer, laser pen or laser light show. For pilots, please also see the page ”How to reduce incidents: For pilots”, which lists what you should do during and after a laser illumination. The section United States - Eye effects or injuries has a chart which lists the symptoms reported by pilots to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Note that before going to a doctor, you may want to call police or relevant authorities if the incident was serious or poses a threat to others. For more information, see the “To report an incident” page.