Yesterday's solar eclipse, while awe-inspiring, did come with a set of rules. Well, a rule to be exact— do not, under any circumstances, stare DIRECTLY into the freakin' sun. I mean, go ahead and read that back to yourself and explain to me what's so difficult to comprehend? Is it the straight-forwardness? Yeah, I hate when directions are just too clear. Of course, a few sad-saps were incapable of listening, including The President of The United States. Sure, he only looked for a couple of seconds, but really? Do better, Donald — just do better.
Anyway, whether it was a few ill-advised seconds of sun-gazing or an hour, there's a strong chance you done messed your retinas the fck up! Was it worth it? Do you feel better about not using those nifty little glasses? Are you starting to lose vision as we speak? *Am I scaring you?**
NBC Chicago was kind enough to sit down with Dr. Linda Chous, chief eye care officer for UnitedHealthcare. She was able to help answer some pressing questions people who may or may not have stared at the eclipse had. All joking/judgement aside, I value my readers and I'd really rather not have ya'll go blind, so please — read this carefully. In the event you're already experience discomfort with your eyesight, have someone read it to you.
If you’ve looked at the eclipse without glasses, do you feel the adverse effects immediately or over time?
"It is unsafe for anyone to look directly at the sun for any length of time or during an eclipse, as damage can occur within seconds of exposure. The sun is incredibly bright – some 400,000 times brighter than a full moon. Any amount of exposure can cause short-term and long-term damage."
If immediately, what are the signs?
"Short-term issues can include solar keratitis, which is similar to sunburn of the cornea (the front part of the eye). This can cause eye pain and light sensitivity, with symptoms often occurring within 24 hours after exposure.
If over time, what are the things you should look for?
"Long-term issues can include solar retinopathy, which is when the sun burns a hole in the retinal tissues, usually occurring at the fovea. This can cause loss of central vision, with symptoms occurring immediately to two weeks after exposure. Depending on the severity of the retinopathy, vision problems can last for months or be permanent."
How do you know if you might have damaged your retina/vision?
"There are often no immediate signs of eye damage after viewing an eclipse without proper eye protection. Symptoms can occur immediately, within several hours or even weeks after exposure. Potential signs of damage include sensitivity to light, eye pain and loss of vision in one or both eyes."
Image Via AFP Photo