If you have a paper document scanner in the office, you may have ever been blinded by the bright light emitted by the scanner.

Is it unsafe to use a document scanner for my eyes?  Will I hurt my eyes looking into the document scanner? The answer is yes, but only if you stare at it excessively for a long period of time.

The bright lamp used in flatbed document scanners

The light emitted by the document scanner is no different from the light from your fluorescent or LED lamp, and will not cause significant damage from a short term exposure.

Top 3 Dangers of Document Scanners

However, there may be other dangers brought about by paper document scanners that you may not be aware of. Protect yourself by being aware of these dangers and avoiding them. Find out what they are in this article below.

Temporary Photo Flash Blindness

The most well-known issue that can occur when you are scanning paper documents using a copier or scanner is temporary photo flash blindness.

Any individual that has at any point used a document scanner at work and looked directly at the scanner light streak directly in the eyes will understand what this is like to be blinded by the light.

Staring straight into the scanner light will cause a photo flash effect that may last for more than a few seconds, and create some resulting discomfort from that.

bokeh photography
Staring into copier light can cause photo flash blindness

Some common issues resulting from that are blindness, cerebral pain, and eye discomfort that you may feel at the back of your eye socket. The photo flash effect may also cause you to see flashes of light that might take up a a few minutes to go away.

Thankfully, these effects are mostly short term and will not cause real damage to your cornea and retina.

After-effects or Secondary Accidents

The real danger may not come because of the photo flash blindness but what happens after that.

While you are encountering photo flash blindness or visual discomfort, you are likely become disconcerted, and could start moving around an excessive amount or fumbling around in a dangerous way.

Secondary accidents could be much worse especially if you knock something over

Any sudden or unexpected movement could lead to either bumping your head on a sharp edge especially if you fall, or knocking over a shelf of items around .

We would say that this could potentially be life threatening if you are in a location such as a warehouse with large objects around. Our advice is to remain calm and attempt to remain still. Try your best if possible to not move around and wait until the temporary visual impairment has gone away.

Retinal Burn

We mentioned earlier that damage to your retina is unlikely for short term exposure, but excessive exposure could surely cause some dangerous and permanent issues that you definitely want to avoid.

Retina burn, also known as Photic retinopathy, is known as damage to the eye's retina, from prolonged exposure to solar light or other bright lights

moon eclipse
Staring the sun during a solar eclipse can cause retina burns

A common reason for retina burn is such as staring at the Sun, while watching a solar eclipse without sunglasses.

In such accidents, the solar radiation usually burns a wound on the patient's retina.

How to scan documents, and still avoid these dangers?

Unfortunately, it is not easy to avoid these dangers of using document scanner at work. There may be times that you need to scan many pages of documents and need to do it fast, and accidentally expose your eyes to the bright light emitted by the scanner.

Therefore, our suggestion is to avoid using a scanner or copier machine but opt for a mobile app solution for scanning instead.

There are document scanner apps for iPhone and Android available that could help you to scan documents from the comfort of your desk, and directly from your palm and your smartphone.