How to know if you damaged your eyes during the eclipse

Alain Brian
Août 23, 2017

We have been repeatedly told that the Monday solar eclipse will damage their eyes if viewed without protection, but if history is any indication, some people will look anyway. During an eclipse, people turn their eyes to the sun for a longer period of time and that can cause damage. However, if you have symptoms of eye damage, you should seek help from an eye doctor or health professional.

Called solar retinopathy, the injury occurs when the sun rays damage the retina, a layer of light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye. If you are seeing blurriness or reduced vision, Dr. Weed said this is a symptom of a condition called solar retinopathy.

Anecdotally, a man who suffered vision loss after staring at the sun during an eclipse in 1962, said he felt like he was getting his picture taken with a bright flash while he was watching the eclipse.

First, answer this question: "How long did you look up at the eclipse without eye protection?" Because there are no pain sensors in the actual eye damage can only be detected once it occurs.

Many people like Nelson wore the correct viewing glasses.

So if you did not make a proper pinhole projector, use specially designed glasses that complied with global safety standards, or even don a welders' helmet, you might be noticing some changes to your vision.

"If you're looking at the sun you're actually focusing, intentionally, the light of the sun onto the spot where you want the most precise vision", Deobhakta said of the fovea.

Clearly it's extremely important, so - if you get another chance to see a total eclipse - do not look directly at the sun. Shea showed Eyewitness News an example of a patient he had in the past that had damage from looking at the sun.

He said if your eyes feel any discomfort, such as pain or sensitivity to light, in the following days, you should get them checked out.

Over time you may also experience "solar retinopathy", which Chous explained is when the sun burns a hole in the retinal tissues.

No patients were seen at either Kokomo hospital for eye issues related to the eclipse, said officials from both Community Howard Regional Health and St. Vincent Kokomo, citing the cloudy afternoon as a likely barrier between eye damage and the eclipse.

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