Richland Student Media

The Student News Site of Dallas College - Richland

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Richland Student Media

Richland Student Media

Dallas


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Richland Chronicle 5/07/24
Richland Chronicle 5/07/24

Blinded by the light

How the sun eclipsed the vision of unprotected gazers

After the total solar eclipse on April 8, medical facilities across the United States have reported a surge in patients presenting symptoms of solar retinopathy, a condition caused by direct exposure of the eyes to the intense light from the sun without proper protection. Despite repeated warnings and educational campaigns, many people disregarded safety precautions, which led to an alarming increase in eye-related complaints.

Students look through telescopes with special solar lenses set up during the Richland total eclipse viewing event on April 8.    (Staff Photo/Carlos Ortega)

According to data from Google Trends, queries related to eye discomfort and headaches spiked immediately after the eclipse, with a notable correlation between the regions with the highest search volumes and those within the eclipse’s path of totality. Many medical professionals witnessed a rush of patients seeking medical attention for symptoms such as eye pain, blurry vision and nausea.
Dr. Janette Neshweiwat, a family and emergency medicine physician, recounted various instances of patients arriving at her clinic with complaints of headaches and eye pain after viewing the eclipse without proper eye protection. Despite efforts to alleviate their symptoms, including pain medication and referral to ophthalmologists, the demand for specialized care overwhelmed available resources. This resulted in many patients facing delays in receiving treatment.

Symptoms typically manifest within hours of exposure and may include changes in central vision, blind spots and distortion of color perception.

Despite the rarity of long-term complications from eclipse viewing, the consequences of unprotected sun gazing can be severe. Therefore, it’s important to spread public awareness regarding the risks associated with viewing solar events without adequate eye protection.

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