Laser pointers are convenient and useful tools. But if they're misused, they can cause unnecessary damage.
Step 1: Follow directions Choose a laser pointer that has a clearly visible label on the side, warning users about misuse and possible eye damage. Thoroughly read the directions and follow them closely. Only use the pointer for it's intended purpose.
Step 2: Get a manual pointer Choose a laser pointer that stays on only while the button is pressed. When you remove pressure from the power button, the pointer should automatically shut off. This safety feature ensures the pointer can't accidentally be left on.
Step 3: Never point it at anyone Never point a laser pointer at anyone and never look directly into the light. Looking directly into a laser beam for longer than a minute can cause irreparable damage to your eye, and looking into it for only a second can cause flash blindness.
TIP: It is illegal in the United States to knowingly aim a laser pointer at an aircraft.
Step 4: Never point it at a mirror Never aim a laser pointer at a reflective surface, such as a mirror. The surface can reflect the light beam back and into your eye.
Step 5: Never allow children to play with it Never allow children to play with a laser pointer unless they're under close adult supervision. Children are more likely to misuse a laser pointer.
Step 6: Never shine through optical equipment Never aim a laser pointer through optical equipment, such as binoculars or telescopes. Lenses can refract or intensify the light. Use your laser pointer carefully and safely to avoid causing damage to yourself and others.
FACT: Theodore Maiman operated the world's first laser on May 16, 1960, at the Hughes Research Laboratory in California.