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Revellers' Retinas Wrecked

Photonics.com
Jul 2008
KIRZHACH, Russia, July 15, 2008 -- More than 30 audience members at a techno music festival may have permanently lost much of their vision after a laser used during the concert burned their retinas, a Russian newspaper reported yesterday.

Patients are still coming into hospitals with retina burns received at the July 6 Akvamarin (Aquamarine) concert held about 100 miles outside Moscow, the newspaper Kommersant reported. Some of the patients, who range in age from 16 to 30, have lost up to 80 percent of their vision and doctors fear the loss may be permanent. They are mainly being treated at the Clinical Ophthalmological Hospital and 32nd city hospital in Moscow.
LaserShow.jpg
A night party in Russia. (Image: iStockphoto)
Some of the concertgoers told the newspaper that, because there was heavy rain on the night of July 5, a tent was raised over the dance floor and the laser sometimes was turned from the sky onto the audience.

"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," Valentin Vasiliev, owner of a Moscow laser rental company, told Reuters. Vasiliev said his company did not provide the Aquamarine lasers.

“I remember the moment when the laser got into my eyes well,” one attendee told Kommersant. “I immediately had a spot like when you look at the sun for a long time.”

Others reported damage to their cameras and video recorders.

One of the organizers told Kommersant that the company that was hired to do the laser shows "had all the safety certificates," but the laser was occasionally pointed at the audience during the light show. A representative of the Vladimir regional government, however, told the Associated Press that the festival was organized illegally without proper permits.

Moscow police say it will be difficult to find the organizers of the concert, Cosmic Connection promotional company, but they promised to send an enquiry to the police department in Kirzhach, where the concert was held.

For more information, visit: www.kommersant.com


GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
vision
The processes in which luminous energy incident on the eye is perceived and evaluated.
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