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Did you burn your retina during the eclipse?

It’s been two weeks since the Great American Eclipse and patients have been coming in to see me, worried about their eyes. Most wore the proper ISO-compliant eyewear, but they were still concerned they may have burned their retinas while gazing at the sun.

OCT of Solar Retinopathy

This is a cross-sectional scan of a patient who has damaged their retina by staring at the sun. The dark gap at the bottom of the image is evidence of this damage and correlates with vision loss.

Damage from staring at the sun usually doesn’t manifest until about 12 hours after exposure. The main symptom is blurry vision–usually at the center of your vision. You may notice a central spot or several spots missing from your vision. There may be areas of discoloration, like an afterimage that comes after looking at a camera flash.

If you have any of these symptoms after having experienced the eclipse, it’s best to get in to see an ophthalmologist (EyeMD) as soon as possible. A retina specialist will be able to perform specialized testing (like the OCT image shown here) to determine if your retina was burned during the sun exposure.

The good news is that many will recover from these retinal burns, but it can take months or even a year for full recovery.


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This entry was posted on September 5, 2017 by in The Eye and tagged , , , , , , .


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