At least one young woman suffered eye damage as a result of the unsafe view of the recent total solar eclipse, according to a report published Thursday, but many of those injuries do not appear to have occurred.
Doctors in New York say that a woman in her 20s came in three days after watching the August 21 eclipse without protective goggles. He had peeked several times, for about six seconds, when the sun was partially covered by the moon.
Four hours later, he began to experience blurred and distorted vision and saw a central black spot in his left eye. The doctors studied their eyes with different imaging technologies, described in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, and were able to observe the damage at the cellular level.
"We were very surprised at how exactly concordant the damage caused by the image was with the increasing shape of the eclipse itself," said Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, retinal surgeon at New York Eye and Ears Hospital in Mount Sinai in New York, in an email to NPR.
He says that this was the most severely injured patient they saw after the eclipse. In total, 22 people came to their urgent care clinic with concerns about possible damage related to the eclipse, and most of them complained of blurred vision. Of them, only three showed some degree of abnormality in the retina. However, two of them only had minor changes and their symptoms disappeared.
The young woman described in this case report, in the last control, has not yet regained normal vision. "But we have not been able to keep up with her as closely as we would like, we would like to see her again in the New Year," says Deobhakta.
Ralph Chou, an eclipse-related eye damage expert at the University of Waterloo, says he received a report from a colleague of a similar eye injury in Pennsylvania. "This young man had played it safe just by looking at the eclipsing sun with one eye," says Chou. "He looked with one eye and it got cold."
While other eye specialists may care for patients but have not publicly reported on them, Chou says, "at this time, we have not really seen any indication of many cases … … it's certainly not like what We saw in the United Kingdom after the eclipse of August 1999, where they did a survey and obtained information about several cases of eye damage as a result of observing that eclipse. "
Given that some 215 million American adults saw the eclipse, says Chou, "it makes us feel that the entire public education campaign was quite successful."
Injured eyes can often recover in the months after an eclipse, he says, but if people's damaged vision has not improved, that means it's probably permanent.
If you still have your special sunglasses and treated them well, says Chou, you can keep them in a safe place and use them again in 2024, when we have the next total solar eclipse on the continental mainland. State.