A Pocatello father-son duo have a warning: Be careful where you point a laser.
Almost two weeks ago, Joshua Constantinof was walking home on Fourteenth Street when he noticed a green spot on his jacket. Next thing he knows, a laser was pointed in an eye, the other one not too long after.
By now, he and his dad, Russell Gates, figured his eyesight would’ve gotten better. It hasn’t.
“He looked up at the picture of his son on the wall and he says all he could see was a picture frame with a blue piece of paper in it,” said Gates.
Constantinof said his now poor vision puts him in a tough spot.
“I was supposed to go Friday to set up my GED testing,” he said. “I can’t do it now because I can’t read.”
Dr. Michael Flandro, an optometrist, said eye damage from a laser depends on where the laser hits the eye. However, there are four main factors in determining damage: the laser’s power its wavelength, how long the laser was exposed to the eye and how close the laser was.
Depending on those four, Flandro said it can be “very superficial to a very, very deep burn. It can lead to scarring of the retina.”
Gates hopes what happened to his son doesn’t happen to anyone else.
“There’s a warning on all (lasers). People think they’re toys, but they’re not. They’re tools,” he said.
This holiday season, there’s been a larger number of people using laser displays on their homes as opposed to setting up lights. Flandro himself has one on his house and admits to having a laser pop into his eye before while leaving the house.
He said, though, those lasers aren’t powerful enough to do too much damage.
Gates has set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses so his son can go see an eye doctor. You can find the page here.