The whole BEAM is CLEARLY visible (not just the dot at the end of the beam like with weaker lasers).
surgery is probably the largest civilian use of lasers
'The aircraft was climbing through about 4,500 feet agl on a standard instrument departure route when the first officer, who was the flying pilot, said a laser beam swept past the cockpit and he immediately experienced eye pain and was completely blinded in the right eye. After image effects also induced a blind condition in his left eye. He said the total inability to see lasted 30 seconds, and for an additional 2 minutes, he could not focus on or interpret any instrument indications and was completely disoriented in his spatial relationship to the vertical. The captain was not irradiated by the beam and assumed control of the aircraft and continued the climb. Many of the larger hotels in Las Vegas have some sort of outdoor laser light show. Most of these installations have both fixed/stationary (static) beams of relatively high power and 'dancing' beams of lower power which flash about the sky in irregular patterns. ... The source of the laser could not be established with certainty. Fifty-one prior incidents of laser irradiations to pilots have been recorded by the Las Vegas air traffic facility over the past 2 years.'
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