Millions of people across the country turned their eyes to the sky to view the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21st. But what if you looked without a pair of those NASA-approved specks?
Monday, August 21, 2017, will go down in history in the United States as the day the Great American Solar Eclipse stretched from coast to coast, leaving millions in awe as they looked directly up at the sun.
You may notice blurred vision. You can also notice a spot in your vision that’s missing or blurry.
“People tend to get their eyes damaged during an eclipse just because it’s easier to stare at the sun, and it’s something interesting, so they stare at it longer than you would normally stare at the sun,” said Dr. Alice Williams, a physician and surgeon at Eye Associates in Vineland.
So, if you were one of those people who didn’t listen to the warnings and looked directly at the eclipse without a pair of the special glasses, you should be aware of what symptoms to look for.
“You would notice something," said Williams. "You may notice blurred vision. You can also notice a spot in your vision that’s missing or blurry."
More than likely those symptoms would pop up almost right away.
“Staring at the sun won’t cause headaches, it shouldn’t cause eye pain that lasts after staring at the sun," said Williams. "So, any sudden change of vision that stays and is permanent, come and get looked at."
If you have kids or know someone who can’t express themselves very well it’s better to be safe than sorry.
“If they did stare at the sun for a long time it may be worth getting an exam just to make sure there’s nothing wrong that they can’t tell you about,” said Williams.
That damage that could’ve been done during the eclipse isn’t minimal.
“What it does is actually damages the cells in your retina, those are the cells in the back of your eye that provide fine vision and it can do permanent damage to those cells if you stare at the sun for long periods of time,” said Williams.
But, Dr. Williams says not to over think your symptoms too much.
“There’s actually no treatment for this and sometimes it does tend to get better on its own," said Williams. "So, get yourself checked out if there’s any changes in vision. But if you’re just having a little headache or a little irritation in the eyes that should get better.”
And when the next solar eclipse happens in 2024, be sure to get yourself a pair of those NASA-approved eclipse glasses to help prevent any damage to your eyes.
If you think your eyes could have some damage from the eclipse and would like to set up an appointment with one of our physicians, call 856-691-8188!