How to tell if the eclipse damaged your eyes

Pablo Tucker
August 23, 2017

Searches for "My eyes hurt", "I can't see", 'Am I blind?' and 'What happens if you stare at the sun?' all spiked immediately after the eclipse passed over the United States on Monday.

Solar retinopathy can be caused by staring at the sun (regardless of its phase), but few people can stand to look directly at our nearest star for very long without pain. "When you look directly at the sun, the intensity of the light and the focus of the light is so great on the retina that it can cook it", Dr. Christopher Quinn, president of the American Optometric Association, told CNN.

But most often, Dr. Kuhn says it will take a few days for the damage to become apparent.

"It can and actually usually does improve over several months, up to six months to a year, but oftentimes there's some level of permanent damage", he said.


Monday's total solar eclipse was viewed by thousands throughout the Inland Northwest.

Local dad Alex Schraut says he had one big concern about watching the eclipse with his kids.

Dr. Barry Gridley, who practices at Eye Care Locale in downtown Dayton, Ohio, said even on a regular day, he still sometimes sees patients with damage from looking right at the sun.

Eye pain that occurs within 24 hours of looking at the sun is one symptom to look out for. Most times, symptoms of serious eye damage show up 12 to 18 hours after exposure.


"It's interesting. The first thing you would probably notice is a generalized blurring in your vision", Ophthalmologist Claire Price said.

Is there anything you can do immediately following viewing without the glasses? But because retinas can't heal themselves, it's possible staring at the sun too long could have caused permanent damage. "However, going forth from now having good sun protection is a good idea", Post said.

But what if you looked without a pair of those NASA-approved specks?

You can download an eye test (an Amsler Grid) online to test each eye. If any lines are missing or appear wavy, you should get your eyes checked out.


"They're fine. I didn't have any problem", Yancy says. Meanwhile officials with Spectrum Health say they had no visits Tuesday for eye damage.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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