Did I Damage My Eyes During the Great American Eclipse?

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The path of totality for the Great American Eclipse crossed just west of Asheville, NC. Our area saw millions upon millions of tourists passing through our area toward Franklin, Sylva, Murphy, and Andrews. Even for those not in the path of totality, protecting your eyes while viewing the eclipse was something to be taken seriously.

After viewing the eclipse with potentially unapproved glasses she borrowed, one woman in Staten Island reported seeing a weird dark spot in her vision that has sense taken the shape of a crescent.

We were among several experts urging eclipse watchers and chasers across the country to make sure they protect their eyes with approved, viewing glasses. Now that a few months have passed, unfortunately there have been cases of people expressing concern regarding their eye sight and the eclipse.

In this article, we will discuss signs you may have damaged your vision during the eclipse, and what you can do about it.

Did I Damage My Eyes Viewing the Eclipse?

The sun’s light was magnified by the passing moon such that it could have damaged your eyesight, even if you did not look directly at the eclipse itself. As the moon passed over the sun, even if you were not in the path of totality, you likely experienced darkness and cooler temperatures. If you were in the path of totality, you may have seen the corona, the especially bright shimmer immediately before the moon totally deflected the sun’s light.

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From moments to months after the event, people who viewed it reported noticing various symptoms of damaged vision due looking at the eclipse without proper glasses, or glasses perhaps falling off of their faces. Signs and symptoms of eclipse-damaged vision include:

  1. Frequent Headaches: Frequent headaches may themselves be a symptom, or squinting from reduced vision may lead to the headaches.
  2. Blurred Vision: If you suddenly or slowly blurred since the eclipse, you should schedule an appointment with an optometrist.
  3. Color Confusion: If you have developed difficulty discerning colors, it could be a result of the eclipse.
  4. Sensitivity to Light: You are squinting more than before you viewed the eclipse.
  5. Seeing Shapes, Spots, Holes: If your vision is now obstructed by dark spots or shapes, it could be a result of eclipse related damage.
  6. Loss of Central Vision: If you are having trouble focusing on your vision, it could be a result of seeing more of the eclipse than you meant to.
  7. Wavy or Distorted Vision: Your vision seems as if you are seeing humidity waves, even when they are not present.
  8. Pain: If you have eye pain emanating from the day of the eclipse, consult an optometrist immediately.

These signs or others could indeed be indicative of vision damage due to viewing the eclipse.

I Have the Signs, What Should I Do About My Vision?

Whether you experience those or other symptoms after the eclipse, or just in general, it is important to consult your eye doctor. Your optometrist will be able to help determine whether it is eclipse related, and exactly what course of treatment will be necessary. Do not panic, but do take seriously any new developments with your vision. If you are in the Asheville area, Asheville Vision Associates would be happy to help you take care of your eyes.