May 30, 2024

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Solar eclipse 2024 signs of eye damage from looking at the sun

Solar eclipse 2024 signs of eye damage from looking at the sun

health

Monday's total solar eclipse ended in the blink of an eye, but for some, the effects of the spectacle may linger for some time.

Solar retinopathy, or “eclipse blindness,” can occur when you stare at the sun without glasses with special solar filters. Bright sunlight can damage the macula, the center of the retina responsible for driving, reading and recognizing faces.

“Even a few seconds of such viewing can temporarily or permanently burn the center of the retina.” The researchers wrote in 2017 About viewing a solar eclipse without proper eye protection. “Once retinal tissue, like brain tissue, is destroyed, it cannot regenerate, resulting in permanent loss of central vision.”

The good news is that eye injuries are rare. says Dr. Ralph Chu, a leading expert on safely viewing solar eclipses Less than 100 cases of eye problems They were recorded across Canada and the United States as a result of the 2017 solar eclipse.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) says. Signs of solar retinopathy They include blurry vision, a blind spot in the central vision of one or both eyes, increased sensitivity to light, headaches, distorted vision, such as a straight line appearing curved, and colors appearing different from normal.

People gather to watch the solar eclipse at the Empire State Building on Monday. Getty Images for Empire State Realty Trust
Solar retinopathy, or “eclipse blindness,” can occur when you stare at the sun without glasses with special solar filters. Ronald W. Erdrich/News Correspondent/USA Today Network

The organization indicates that visual symptoms are usually noticeable within four to six hours, but some may not appear before 12 hours.

“You don't have nerve endings at the back of your eyeball, so you could be experiencing a burn without even knowing it,” Michelle Nichols, director of public observation at the Adler Planetarium, explained to NBC Chicago on Monday.

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Although there is no cure for solar retinopathy, according to the AAO, it is important to see an ophthalmologist who can assess the extent of the damage.

“It's not even obvious on examination initially for these patients,” Dr. Derek Price, an ophthalmologist in Fort Wayne, Indiana, told NBC Chicago about retinal problems.

“They'll come in with a complaint, and they'll tell you I see a spot in my vision, and that's all you get. But then over the next couple of months, if they come back, you can see where the retina itself has deteriorated. “If it deteriorates… the photoreceptors in the back of the “The eye is forever.”

While many will recover within three to six months, permanent vision loss is possible.

Although there is no cure for solar retinopathy, it is important to visit an eye doctor who can evaluate the extent of the damage. FC Quadro – Stock.adobe.com
While many will recover within three to six months, permanent vision loss is possible. Stock struggle

A 42-year-old man developed blurry vision in both eyes that took two months to resolve after staring directly at the sun for several minutes. According to a 2014 case study.

A Brooklyn woman who stared during a 2017 solar eclipse for 10 seconds without protective glasses claims she suffered “irreversible damage to her eye” — including a blind spot in the middle of her left iris.

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