Beware of laser beams!

Come festival season, street noise increases ten-fold, roads get dug up and traffic snarls plague citizens.

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Now there is a new danger. Laser beams.

It took years for the authorities to wake up to the damage caused to the ears by loud sounds. We can safely say that it can take several more years for the authorities to clamp down and regulate the use of laser beams.

Just near my house, there was a Dahi Handi pandal beaming laser lights directly into people’s eyes.

A laser beam can cause more damage than looking at the sun.

Why lasers can cause eye damage

A laser’s light is concentrated into a narrow beam. If aimed at a person’s eye from close up, most or all of the light goes through the pupil. The already-concentrated light is further focused by the lens onto a sharp (“diffraction-limited”) dot on the retina.

The power density from a 1 milliwatt laser, focused to a point, is brighter than the equivalent area of the sun’s surface. This can cause a detectable change (injury) to the retina, if the laser stays in one spot for a few seconds. This is why in some countries such as the U.K., laser pointers are limited to 1 milliwatt or less.

The hapless public is being subjected to eye damage because of the ignorance of the authorities.  Even relatively small amounts of laser light can lead to permanent eye injuries and the sale and usage of lasers should be subject to government regulations. This is what the Wikipedia says about laser safety.

With no rules in place, the problem with just get worse. Lasers are being used freely during festivals, and even at wedding celebrations.

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