Laser Pointer Advisory


laser pointer

A laser pointer contains a small diode laser that emits an intense beam of light. Most laser pointers contain low to moderate powered lasers that do not pose a serious risk of eye injury unless intentionally misused. Some of the newer laser pointers, especially the green light pointers, present a significantly increased risk of eye injury.

Direct viewing of the laser beam may cause temporary flash blindness, headaches, afterimages or glare. Besides the risk of injury from the beam, the outrage from being exposed or loss of concentration may promote other hazards.

Safety Considerations

The following safety considerations should be observed when using laser pointers:

  1. Never look directly into the laser beam.
  2. Never point a laser at a person.
  3. Do not aim the laser at a highly reflective surface.
  4. Only use laser pointers that have.
    • Laser Radiation labeling
    • Classification as Class 2 or 3a (see label)
    • wavelength between 630 and 680 nm
    • maximum output less than 5 mW

For more information about laser pointer safety see Safety Recommendations for Laser Pointers.

For questions about laser pointers or any laser safety issue, contact Radiation Safety at radsaf@u.washington.edu or 206.543.0463.