*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Science Alert.
The dangers of staring directly into laser pointers are well documented, but an unfortunate incident involving a teenager from Ohio serves as a sobering reminder of just how little it takes to cause permanent damage to your eyes and vision.
In a recent medical report, physicians document the case of the anonymous teen, who stared directly into a laser pointer for several seconds while playing a 'shooting game' with his friends.
The device used was a laser pointer toy intended for exercising pets. While devices like this are often advertised as being low-power lasers, that's not always the case, and mounting evidence of retinal damage caused by such pointers suggests the risk is growing, researchers say, even though people might not be aware of it.
"Though commonly believed to be safe, even brief laser-pointer exposure to the eye can lead to permanent vision loss, with children being particularly at risk," the team, led by first author and medical student Carol Vitellas from Ohio State University (OSU) explained in the report.
Sadly, that's exactly what happened to the teen in this case. Despite only looking at the laser directly for a matter of seconds, immediately afterward he experienced a form of vision loss for several minutes, after describing the initial visual effect as a bright light.
Five months after the incident, the boy, experiencing ongoing blurred vision and partial vision loss in his right eye, went to see OSU ophthalmologist Frederick Davidorf.
Using a high-resolution optical scanning system, Davidorf saw first-hand the damage done to the boy's retinas, where entire regions of light-sensitive photoreceptors cells (aka rods and cones) had been "blasted away" by the laser, as Davidorf puts it. "There's just nothing left there," Davidorf said. "The affected areas are devoid of cones."
The boy was diagnosed with macular laser burns in both eyes, given no other confounding conditions could explain the vision loss he was experiencing.
The teen had his eyes scanned with the ophthalmoscope on two occasions, at 11 and then 20 months after the injury was sustained. During the interim, the researchers observed a slight decrease in the size of the lesions. "It's never going to fully heal," Davidorf said. "There will always be scarring there."
The findings were reported in Retinal Cases & Brief Reports.
- 2020Sep 18
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A Majority of Young Adults in the U.S. Live with Their Parents for the First Time Since the Great Depression
- 2020Sep 17
*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Pew Research Center.
The coronavirus outbreak has pushed millions of Americans, especially young adults, to move in with family members. The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has become a majority since U.S. coronavirus cases began spreading early this year, surpassing the previous peak during the Great Depression era.
In July, 52% of young adults resided with one or both of their parents, up from 47% in February, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of monthly Census Bureau data. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million, an increase of 2.6 million from February. The number and share of young adults living with their parents grew across the board for all major racial and ethnic groups, men and women, and metropolitan and rural residents, as well as in all four main census regions. Growth was sharpest for the youngest adults (ages 18 to 24) and for White young adults.
The share of young adults living with their parents is higher than in any previous measurement (based on current surveys and decennial censuses). Before 2020, the highest measured value was in the 1940 census at the end of the Great Depression, when 48% of young adults lived with their parents. The peak may have been higher during the worst of the Great Depression in the 1930s, but there is no data for that period.
Among all adults who moved due to the pandemic, 23% said the most important reason was because their college campus had closed, and 18% said it was due to job loss or other financial reasons.