Published Jul 15, 2008With raving comes certain risks, like getting busted by the fuzz, taking one tab too many or being cornered by some multi-coloured tree-hugger wanting to "connect. Rarely though is being left permanently blinded on the list. Yet earlier this month, dozens of ravers at an outdoor party near Moscow experienced permanent vision loss after a laser show turned ugly.
At a rave on July 5 at the Aquamarine Open Air Festival in Kirzhach, a town about 80 kilometres northeast of Moscow, organisers erected large tents over the outdoor venue after heavy rains threatened to cancel the event. As a result, the partys lasers meant to beam up into the sky hit the tents canopy and came back down onto attendees, with the reflection causing permanent eye damage to many of the dancers, Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported. In some cases, the loss of eyesight is "up to 80 percent and it's unlikely it can ever be restored," one doctor told the paper.
One attendee said, "I immediately had a spot like when you stare into the sun. After three days I decided to go to the hospital. They examined me, asked if I had been at Open Air and then put me straight in the hospital.
Officials told the newspaper, "More than 30 people between the ages of 16 and 30 have ended up in hospitals in the capital with the same diagnosis, damaged retinas, since July 7."
The owner of the Moscow laser rental company has blamed technicians for placing the powerful lasers in a confined area, while the organisers, Cosmic Connection, have yet to comment.