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​Nightclub lasers in India could be causing retinal damage, experts warn

Concern is mounting over “long term eye damage” caused by lighting displays at clubs, concerts, and weddings across India

  • Gemma Ross
  • 5 October 2023
​Nightclub lasers in India could be causing retinal damage, experts warn

Nightclub laser shows could be affecting the eyesight of clubbers aged 25 to 30 across India, experts have warned, particularly following Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.

Doctors claim that retinal damage is on the rise around the country due to intense lighting at events such as weddings, nightclubs and concerts, especially amongst young people.

Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations were cut short for five clubbers in the Indian city of Nashik earlier in September, the Indian Express reports, after they suffered “permanent damage” to their retinas, a soft tissue in the back of the eye.

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Of the five people who suffered eye damage, one had “severe vision loss” with bleeding and burns to the retina. “A young man turned up at the outpatient department recently complaining of vision problems since Ganesh Chaturthi,” Dr Sachin Kasliwal of the Nashik Ophthalmologists’ Association said (via Indian Express).

“The young man had been exposed to laser beams, especially the green ones. These lasers damaged his retinas,” they added.

The doctor went on to add that this was not an isolated incident, and that ophthalmologists have seen a rise in laser show-related vision damage in recent times due to light displays at clubs and concerts.

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Strong, high-wavelength laser beams are said to cause “intense heat” when concentrated on the eye, causing temporary or permanent damage. In the UK, the HSE guidelines stop high-strength lasers from being used at clubs and concerts.

Those admitted with retina damage in India were said to be standing within a 50 to 200-metre radius of a laser show, doctors said. They also claimed that in the year prior, nearly 65 people suffered from vision loss following Ganpati festivities.

Speaking to Indian Express, Dr Shashi Kapoor explained: “Prolonged or direct exposure to such intense laser beams, especially at shorter wavelengths, can potentially cause thermal damage to the retina, leading to conditions like laser-induced retinal damage.”

[Via Indian Express]

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

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