The stern warnings given against staring at the solar eclipse in August without protective eye gear are proving correct, after all. Unfortunately, there’s one victim to show the ill-effects of gazing at the historic eclipse with just the naked eyes.
A woman in her 20s made the mistake of staring at the solar eclipse without any eye protection for about a brief period of 6 seconds, then went at it again for a longer 20 seconds while wearing dark glasses that were not really strong enough, unlike solar eclipse glasses.
Now, the woman has reasons to regret her carelessness, or her decision not to listen to the warnings issued by eye doctors, authorities and the media before the much-anticipated event. An eclipse-shaped spot was burned onto the retina of her left eye.
Alarmingly, advanced retina scans, performed at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai showed the damage in the woman’s eye in the shape of the sun with the silhouette of the moon crossing its outer edge. The authors of the study also said that the woman described a corresponding “hole “in the center of her vision, by sketching a similar shape of what appears like a cookie with a bite out of it.
The woman’s doctor also explained that her right eye was not as severely damaged because the left eye happens to be her dominant eye.
Further scans were performed on the woman six weeks later but retina surgeon Avnish Deobhakta said the damage remained visible.
A Pennyslyvania man also suffered damage in one eye. Doctors said he looked at the eclipse in August with one eye. He looked with one eye and he got fired.
Doctors cannot establish for now if the damage suffered by the two eclipse-watchers will be permanent. Unfortunately, for now, the signs are not encouraging.
Experts say that looking at a solar eclipse is in essence not much difference at looking at the sun under normal circumstances. However, during an eclipse the partly hidden sun appears less bright, so watchers may fall for the wrong notion that it is safe to look at with the naked eye when it is certainly not safe to do so.