Cleveland doctors keep an eye out for eclipse patients

Randall Craig
August 24, 2017

Even though it took a few decades between total eclipses last time, the next Great American Eclipse will occur in a short seven years, on April 8, 2024.

But it might take a while for that damage to show.

More people searched for "my eyes hurt" and "I looked at the eclipse and my eyes hurt", on Google after the eclipse ended than ever before, according to Google Trends.

You looked at the sun too long -Now what?

Deobhakta, a retinal specialist, said Tuesday that some 15 patients had come in complaining of such post-eclipse issues as blurred vision and light sensitivity.

Two men are warning people about the dangers of staring at the sun during the eclipse after they did so decades ago in Portland, Ore.

The retina absorbs harmful UV light when you look at the sun, triggering a reaction that damages the cells, Wilson said.

"In general, damage from the sun to the retina is permanent", Deobhakta said. Some viewers of Monday's eclipse said they are anxious about vision loss too and asked how you would know if the eclipse damaged your eyes.

"And, if you get a sunburn to the eye, that could cause a lot of discomfort", she added.

Many times, this burn to your retina is painless-you may not even know you're inflicting serious damage.

It's called solar retinopathy, and if you didn't use the right kind of safety glasses to watch Monday's eclipse you might now have this type of vision loss.

"We had looked down at the ground and you're still looking at part of the eclipse like it's imprinted in your eye, " Duvall said.

The only way to safely view the eclipse are with glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 worldwide safety standards.

Doctors say if you are experiencing eye problems following the eclipse to see an eye care professional. The symptoms largely depend on the type of injury at the back of the eye.

If there was damage, you can experience blurred vision, multiple spots on the eye, or just one spot in the center.

"I'm sort of amazed so far that we haven't examined anybody who has damage", Dr. M. Edward Wilson said by telephone from the Medical University of South Carolina's Storm Eye Institute in Charleston. You're not alone. Hundreds of folks on Twitter admitted they also looked directly at the solar event, so you're probably in good company.

Local dad Alex Schraut says he had one big concern about watching the eclipse with his kids.

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