Wichita eye doctor warns of damage, vision loss after solar eclipse

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Did you view the solar eclipse safely? Eye doctors warn there could be major consequences, even vision loss, if spectators were not careful.

Monday’s anticipated total solar eclipse did not disappoint. Hundreds of thousands of people took in the view across the United States.

“I don’t even know how to describe it. It was just great,” said one spectator.

“It was the most spectacular two minutes of our lives!” said another person.

While many people used the proper eye protection to watch the moon cover the sun, optometrists said they’re worried some people may not have been cautious enough.

“The sun is very powerful as far as damage it can do our eyes, so immediate exposure would be that solar keratitis, so burning, sun burning the front part of our eyes,” said Dr. Trishelle Barton, OD of The Eye Studio in Wichita. “Even worse, as far as more severe issues, would be the solar retinopathy, which we all have been hearing all about. That is where the sun actually burns a hole in your retina.”

Barton said now that the solar eclipse is over, there are some things to keep in mind. First, she said viewers who glanced at the sun with their naked eye, should be okay.

“I mean getting orientation, there is nothing wrong with that,” Barton said.

Barton said, however, if someone stared directly into the sun without eye protection, they may have damaged their eyes and could soon experience symptoms of light sensitivity, eye pain and vision loss.

“It doesn’t always happen immediately and it can actually be as far as two weeks out before you start to notice the symptoms too,” she said.

Barton said if someone begins experiencing any of the symptoms previously noted, they should contact an optometrist immediately.

She said there is medication for sunburned eyes, however she said there are few proven treatments for solar retinopathy.

“I hope I won’t be seeing anyone for this issue. I hope everyone viewed it safely,” Barton said.


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