The solar eclipse of 2017 has arrived and it’s important to wear the correct safety glasses in order to protect your eyes from damage. But, what happens if you actually suffer damage from the eclipse? Here’s all the info on why your eyes can become hurt from the eclipse, what symptoms are of eye damage and the available treatments.
So, why is it dangerous to look at a solar eclipse? Dr. Christopher Quinn, the president of the American Optometric Association, told CNN:
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. 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. It’s never a good idea to view the eclipse without the protection.
Even if you are looking at the eclipse through your camera or camera phone, you still need to wear your protective glasses. According to Business Insider, ultraviolet light from the sun can penetrate the retina in your eye and can cause a condition known as solar retinopathy.
Eye damage doesn’t necessarily make you blind, as it affects your central vision, making it blurred or spotty. If you have damage to your eye, you should see signs within a few hours or by the next day. Even so, some damage may occur down the line, later in your life.
Symptoms of eye damage listed by NASA include “blurred vision, dark or yellow spots, pain, or loss of vision in the center of the eye.” There are no pain sensors in the eye, so damage can only be detected once it occurs.
Some damage goes away on its own after a couple days, weeks or even months. However, others may suffer permanent damage to their vision.
If you notice any symptoms of damage, seek treatment or help from an eye care professional.