People who want to import, sell or even acquire high-powered
laser pointers will have to apply to the Ministry of Health
under new Government regulations announced today.
Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said the new controls,
which come into force in March, would restrict access to
high-powered laser devices to those who have a legitimate
reason to use them, such as astronomers.
"High-power laser pointers can cause eye injuries, even
blindness, and skin burns. ACC accepts around 10 claims a
year for these injuries," Mrs Goodhew said.
"They can also cause temporary flash blindness, which poses a
serious risk if the person affected is a pilot or in charge
of a vehicle or equipment. The Civil Aviation Authority
reports around 100 laser strike incidents on planes each
Lower power devices, like those used for pointing during
presentations, would not be affected.
The controls did not apply to more sophisticated laser
devices such as survey instruments or rifle sights.