Lasers Can Damage Vision
Moscow city health department officials confirmed 12 cases of laser-blindness at the Central Ophthalmological Clinic, and daily newspaper Kommersant said another 17 were registered at City Hospital 32 in the centre of the capital.
Attendees at the July 5 Aquamarine Open Air Festival in Kirzhach, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of Moscow, began seeking medical help days after the show, complaining of eye and vision problems.
“They all have retinal burns, scarring is visible on them. Loss of vision in individual cases is as high as 80 percent, and regaining it is already impossible,” an ophthalmologist is quoted as saying.
Attendees said heavy rains forced organisers to erect massive tents for the all-night dance party, and lasers that normally illuminate upwards into the sky were instead partially refracted into the ravers’ eyes.
The owner of a Moscow laser rental company said the accidental blindings were due to “illiteracy on the part of technicians”. “It was partly the rain, but also partly the size of the laser. Somebody set up an extremely powerful laser for such a small space,” said Valentin Vasiliev, who said his company did not provide the Aquamarine lasers.