We evaluated the damage caused to optically trapped red blood cells (RBCs) after 1 or 2 min of exposure to near-infrared (NIR) laser beams at 785 or 1064 nm. Damage was quantified by measuring cell elasticity using an automatic, real-time, homemade, optical tweezer system. The measurements, performed on a significant number (hundreds) of cells, revealed an overall deformability decrease up to after 2 min of light exposure, under 10 mW optical trapping for the 785-nm wavelength. Wavelength dependence of the optical damage is attributed to the light absorption by hemoglobin. The results provided evidence that RBCs have their biomechanical properties affected by NIR radiation. Our findings establish limits for laser applications with RBCs.