AUG 22, 2017 5:49 AM PDT

How to Spot Eye Damage from the Solar Eclipse

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Hundreds of millions of Americans experienced the solar eclipse on Monday. Undoubtedly, not everyone (e.g., Donald Trump) followed the advice to wear proper eye protection when viewing the eclipse.

The safety recommendation is not without cause. There are over 100 documented cases of eye damage related to the solar eclipse phenomenon. People with this type of damage, called solar retinopathy, often report blurry vision and loss of fine visual details. Although the effects may not lead to complete blindness, the vision impairments may be permanent.

For those who saw the eclipse through the lens of ultra-dark "solar-viewing glasses" - you probably don't have anything to worry about. For those who snuck a peek at the eclipse with naked eyes for more than a few seconds, here's what to watch out for: Blurry vision, white spots, and increased sensitivity.

These symptoms may take a few days to take effect. If you're in doubt, go get checked by an optometrist. And while you're at it, go ahead and buy a pair of eclipse-rated glasses for the next event, scheduled to occur in 2024.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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