There are a hundred million reasons why one shouldn’t look up at the sun during an eclipse, but the most important one is probably the fact that you could go blind. You probably didn’t dare to do it without wearing protective gear, but we definitely know someone who tried it. However, did the Monday eclipse cause any vision loss victims?
Ralph Choo, from the School of Optometry and Vision Science in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, declared that he didn’t receive any complaints from people experiencing worrying symptoms after watching the eclipse. This is great to hear, but what if some symptoms appear later?
Some people might still be seeing sun spots, but this is no reason to worry yet. In fact, the most common symptom of severe eye damage is blurred vision, but only in the center. Near the periphery of the visual field, people should have almost normal vision.
Several reports from Monday encouraged people not to freak out if the eclipse left them with headaches. These don’t mean affected vision, as they are more likely to have been caused by a prolonged sun exposure or a higher sensitivity to light. Since then, most of these headaches must have already disappeared.
Has anyone ever experienced vision loss after watching the eclipse?
But is it actually possible to get completely blinded after watching an eclipse? After the 1999 astronomical phenomenon, researchers performed a case study where they analyzed different symptoms which appeared after watching the eclipse.
This is how they found 70 cases of people who lost their vision within two days after the phenomenon. Eighty-four percent of the patients experienced abnormal macular appearance, meaning that their retinas gradually lost their function. Fortunately, no vision loss events had occurred for the next six months.
Fortunately, you can still recover if your eyes suffer damage from the sun. It might take about 12 months for your eyes to recover, so the vision loss is not permanent. However, the time of recovery depends on the intensity of the UV rays you’ve been exposed to.
Image Source: Health.mil