‘Eyes Hurt’: People Still Looked Right at the Solar Eclipse

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Getty President Donald Trump watches the solar eclipse with eclipse glasses.

Despite repeated warnings from scientists, many people throughout the U.S. decided to learn the hard way that scientists are often right when they tell you not to star directly at the sun. Scientists made it clear that you need to use solar eclipse glasses or pinhole projectors to see the moon block the sun, but that didn’t stop people from ignoring it.

After the eclipse was over in much of the country, searches for “eyes hurt” skyrocketed.

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GoogleSearches for “eyes hurt” skyrocketed on Google.

Other popular related terms were “eyes hurt eclipse,” “eclipse hurt your eyes” and “does eclipse hurt your eyes.”

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As we previously noted, it is possible to permanently damage your eyes if you look at a solar eclipse without wearing the special glasses. In the days leading up to the eclipse, there were horror stories in the press, including one from Lou Tomososki.

Tomososki told Today.com that he suffered permanent eye damage when he looked up at the partial solar eclipse over Oregon in 1962. The high school student saw flashes of light, which caused permanent damage to his right eye. Now 70 years old, he told Today that he struggles to see if he can only rely on his right eye. So while you will not go completely blind, you could suffer permanent damage.

Why does this happen? “When you look directly at the sun, the intensity of the light and the focus of the light is so great on the retina that it can cook it,” Dr. Christopher Quinn, president of the American Optometric Association, told CNN. “If the exposure is great enough, that can and will lead to permanent reduction in vision and even blindness.”


“It’s really impossible for people, when they’re in the moment, to make a judgment over brief versus prolonged exposure,” Quinn continued. “It’s never a good idea to view the eclipse without the protection.”

For more information on eye damage caused by looking at a solar eclipse without glasses, click below. If your eyes hurt, see an eye doctor immediately.

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