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Because I am using one as a christmas tree decoration and people look straight into it every day.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 12 down vote accepted

Unless the mouse is labelled as a class 2 laser device, then it will not cause damage to your eyes. Most (possibly all) mice are either not lasers or class 1 laser devices, which are safe under all conditions, and do not require labelling.

If you want to know a lot more detail, there is a company called Avago which owns lots of patents in the this area. They have produced a detailed document covering aspects of safety with regard to optical and laser mice [PDF].

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Most mice aren't using laser devices (either class 1 or 2) but just regular leds. –  jlliagre Dec 15 '10 at 10:39
    
Thanks; clarified my answer –  Colin Pickard Dec 15 '10 at 10:52
    
Very interesting, thanks! –  qroberts Dec 15 '10 at 12:32

Well, I did spend some time experimenting with this few years ago.

I noticed that after spending several minutes staring directly at mouse LED at close range (as in 1-2 cm), the way I perceive colors changes. It resets back to normal after few minutes of not staring into the mouse, and as far as I can see, there was no permanent damage.

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I think you'll find that happens with any coloured light - even with the different colours of "white" light, like the 3500K orangeish light from an electric lightbulb compared with the 5400K bluish light from the sun. –  stib Dec 15 '10 at 9:50
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Cool! I can see colors and hear the grass grow. And DEA can't say anything 'cause it is the LED in my mouse's belly. ;-) –  Aki Dec 15 '10 at 9:50
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You (over)stimulate the receptors for a specific color in your eye. When you look e.g. at a grey/white object afterwards, they are desensitized for a while, and you only perceive the colors from the other receptors (don't quote me on that, it's been a while since I read about it), so you see the opposite color (like yellow/blue). Perception is a funny thing, try googling for Adelson's checker shadow illusion, or the Hermann grid illusion. –  Daniel Beck Dec 15 '10 at 11:15
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@Dennis Williamson Too late! I already zapped both my eyes! :) –  AndrejaKo Dec 17 '10 at 20:34
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"As far as I can see", good one :D ! –  Bertvan Feb 28 '13 at 13:28

It will deplete the pigments in the cells of your retina where the light falls, but it doesn't contain enough energy to actually cause any lasting damage.

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Only if you poke yourself in the eye with it.

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I don't think the LED is powerful enough anyway. You may get blurry eye for a few moments but you can get that just by looking at a bright light bulb for a duration. Your retina can get a little bit tired if staring in it for too long but this is all from the strong light. And it is not infra-red. Humans cannot see infra-red light. It is visible red which is higher in frequency.

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No, unless you have a infrared laser led but I guess invisible beams are not the best christmas tree decoration ... ;-)

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Wavelength effect what kinds of damage a bright light can do, but all wavelengths can be dangerous. Intensity is the single most relevant metric. –  dmckee Dec 15 '10 at 15:58
    
I agree with that but you are missing my point. All laser mice I'm aware of are in the IR spectrum so there is no chance the question is about them. You unlikely use IR lights to decorate a christmas tree. –  jlliagre Dec 15 '10 at 16:55

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