Published: Sat, August 19, 2017
Science | By Nancy Frank

Man Who Burned Retina During 1962 Eclipse Warns Others of Viewing Dangers

Man Who Burned Retina During 1962 Eclipse Warns Others of Viewing Dangers

He doesn't remember exactly when he realized there was a problem, but those few seconds burned a hole in his retina leaving him with a sizable blind spot he's had ever since.

They recommend you not look in the direction of the eclipse, they also stress that you don't wear the protective glasses while driving as this can be unsafe as well.

Van Gelder said it's safe to look directly at the sun only if you're in the area of totality - that 70-mile swath that will be plunged into darkness on Monday - and only for the duration of totality (a bit more than two minutes, depending on the location). But it was enough to permanently damage Lou Tomososki's right eye.

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"Oh 20 seconds probably, that's all it took", Tomososki told KPTV. "I'm glad I didn't go 40 seconds; it would have been worse".

"The sun at that time, at 3:30 p.m., was in the one o'clock position", said Tomososki.

The potential damage could be permanent, according to a leading eye surgeon.

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The sun's rays carry many different types of light that can cause physical and chemical damage to your vision. "Unfortunately there's not a treatment for it, so once that damage is done you have to wait and hopefully things improve and your body can heal some, but a lot of the damage can be permanent".

"Some damage occurs pretty quickly, but a lot of damage can take hours to days to really come to bear", Lujan said.

The damage occurs in the fovea, a small spot in the retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision. As a result, patients with solar retinopathy may have blurry vision or a central blind point in their eyes, according to the AAO. When he said yes, the doctor joked that he got laser surgery on his eye even before it was developed, except it was done in the wrong spot, and that he did it for too long. "The only way to treat solar retinopathy right now is to prevent it and not stare at the sun during the eclipse". In fact, even those who have already bought their eclipse glasses are still warned to check if they are safe and certified. "When you partially obscure the sun with the moon, it's not so bright, and it's not so painful to actually look at it", Hubbard said.

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Tomososki has been sharing his story because he worries people will look directly at the sun on Monday during the Great American Eclipse. You also must use common sense.

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