The most common eye damage that most people are familiar with comes from trauma or eye disease. People need to be aware that they can hurt or damage their eyes in watching the eclipse even for a short duration. Be reminded to wear safety glasses when looking at the eclipse.
The retinal damage from exposure to solar radiation is called solar retinopathy. Precautions such as wearing eye protection must be taken. There are no documented cases of vision loss yet in watching the eclipse. Even so, it is better to protect eyes than risk it for a worst-case scenario of vision loss.
In Vanderbilt Eye Institute, there is a prepared triage area for patients with solar retinopathy or damage in the retina of the eye. About 10 patients had their eyes checked in this area but none of them showed any visual issue that is related to the eclipse.
What Are the Symptoms to Look Out for After Watching the Eclipse Without Protection?
The retina in the eyes does not have any nerves for pain. If you damage your eyes from the eclipse, it is unlikely to cause you any pain or discomfort in your eyes. If you are feeling something in your eyes after watching the eclipse, it is not because of solar retinopathy.
These are the symptoms that you should look out for if you think there is a possibility that you sustained eye damage due to unsafe solar eclipse glasses:
- Blurred vision
- Scotoma or a blind spot in central vision in one or both eyes
- Increased light sensitivity
- Distorted vision or metamorphopsia
- Dyschromatopsia or change in the way we perceive color
What Is the Treatment for Solar Retinopathy?
Solar retinopathy has no treatment but you must get your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist if you are exposed to solar radiation. Your eyes will be scanned by your ophthalmologist to determine the extent of any damage. The recovery period is usually three to six months.
There are reported cases that they use steroids as treatment of macular edema in solar retinopathy. It is essential to be cautious when using steroids as treatment because of their known side effects.
The best way to prevent any serious complications is to use appropriate eye protection when watching the eclipse. Do not risk it even if it is for a short time only.