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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 25-29

Knowledge and attitude towards hazardous effects of laser pointers among attendees of football matches in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

1 College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Suliman A Alsuliman
Vitreoretinal Division, King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, P.O. Box 7191, Riyadh 11462
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1319-4534.301293

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Purpose: There has been a recent increase in accidental retinal injuries due to the careless use of handheld laser devices. The scenarios under which these incidents occur suggest a lack of awareness of the sight-threatening hazards of some handheld lasers. This study aimed to assess knowledge of the population to plan awareness programs and establish protective health policies. Methods: This observational cross-sectional study used a newly-developed, validated, and pilot-tested questionnaire to survey attendees of football matches in Saudi Arabia between September to October 2018. Results: Five-hundred and sixty-nine attendees were surveyed, and 76% of respondents knew laser pointers were harmful and could damage the eye. However, 73% of respondents did not think that the blue laser was dangerous, indicating poor awareness regarding this particular laser. Only 38% knew which ocular structure is most commonly damaged, and 15.6% did not realize that brief exposure can cause vision loss. Females had better knowledge compared to males. Respondents between 25 and 40 years old, females, and married individuals had the highest levels of a positive attitude. There was no statistically significant difference in the mean knowledge score between those in the medical field and other fields (P = 0.5). Conclusion: There is an inadequate knowledge of protective measures against handheld lasers. However, there's an overall positive attitude towards spreading awareness about this issue. Yet, targeted awareness campaigns are still needed in addition to more strict government laws to prevent importing or using high-powered handheld laser pointers.

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