Post-Eclipse Concerns About Eye Damage Increase in the US! 

Post-Eclipse Concerns About Eye Damage Increase in the US. Credit | Getty Images
Post-Eclipse Concerns About Eye Damage Increase in the US. Credit | Getty Images

United States: In the aftermath of the recently held solar eclipse, most of the Google searches were pointed out by experts, as many individuals were particularly concerned about having looked at the eclipsed sun for too long, as revealed by search inquiries on Google. 

What do the experts have to say? 

Eye experts have taken into notice the prevalent concern, which highlights that staring at the sun without proper eye protection can indeed cause damage. 

Consequently, several cases of eye issues have been reported in the US post-eclipse, as reported by NBC News. However, experts emphasize that cases of long-term damage from eclipse exposure are uncommon. 

According to experts, experiencing eye discomfort is not necessarily indicative of more severe problems such as injuries from “solar retinopathy,” which occurs when damage to the retinas happens without causing immediate pain. 

Major types of injuries caused by sun exposure 

There are two main types of injuries, which are generally caused by looking at the sun: a burn to the outside of the eye and damage inflicted on nerve tissue within. 

Dr. Daniel Lattin, an ophthalmologist at Nemours Children’s Health in Jacksonville, Florida, said, “You can get a little bit of a burn to the surface of the eye, or what we call solar keratitis,” as NBC News reported. 

“You can get sort of a burn to that cornea, and that’ll cause redness and tearing and those sorts of symptoms. That should resolve on its own, within a day or two, without any sort of permanent damage,” as Lattin added. 

However, experts note that such injuries are rare and are mostly associated with individuals who spend extended periods at high altitudes, such as climbers, who have greater sun exposure, even without eye protection, as stated by Dr. Russell Van Gelder, an ophthalmologist at the University of Washington Medicine and the director of the Karalis Johnson Retina Center in Seattle. 

Van Gelder added, “It’s pretty hard to get that eclipse gazing; you need a fair amount of exposure.” 

Post-Eclipse Concerns About Eye Damage Increase in the US. Credit | Getty Images
Post-Eclipse Concerns About Eye Damage Increase in the US. Credit | Getty Images

Dr. Luxme Hariharan, chief of ophthalmology at Dayton Children’s Hospital in Ohio, warned, “If you have symptoms of a blind spot, wavy lines, floaters, or blurry vision, that could be solar retinopathy after this eclipse, and you need to be seen right away,” as reported by NBC News. 

Cases reported of affected by solar eclipse in US 

Regarding cases of eclipse-related health damage, a technical report by the American Astronomical Society discussed approximately 100 patients affected by “eclipse-related retinopathy” during the 2017 total solar eclipse. A report indicated that children and young people were most affected based on informal survey estimates. 

Van Gelder mentioned that there is no national registry tracking such injuries. However, since 2017, his clinic has treated half a dozen patients in Seattle who experienced eye complaints. 

“If people are having pain, it’s probably not anything significant,” Van Gelder added. “If they have vision issues, they should be seen.” 

Hariharan also highlighted, “It can take as little as one to two seconds where you’re looking at it unprotected if you’re not using the glasses,” and cautioned, “The problem is when the moon is blocking it in totality, and it’s cloudy, you think it’s safe to look at, and people will stare at it for longer.”