Gazing Gone Wrong: Doctor's Warning After Eclipse Eye Injuries SURGE

By Alan Hume | Saturday, 13 April 2024 12:00 PM
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In the aftermath of Monday's solar eclipse, a significant increase in Google searches for eye-related injuries was observed, and a New York City doctor reported a surge in patients with eye discomfort.

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a double board-certified doctor based in New York City, expressed her astonishment at the number of patients who had disregarded safety advice and viewed the eclipse without protection. "I had several patients come in panicking saying 'I don't want to go blind,'" she told Fox News Digital. "I couldn't believe it, people actually looked at the eclipse without protection."

Despite repeated warnings from doctors and eye specialists not to look directly at the sun, it appears that some individuals chose to ignore this advice. The act of viewing the sun without protective equipment, such as solar eclipse glasses, can result in severe and permanent vision damage. According to Dr. Nesheiwat, the sun's rays can burn the retina and damage the macula, the part of the retina at the back of the eye responsible for central vision.

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Following the alignment of the moon and sun on Monday, Google searches for phrases such as "hurt eyes" and "why do my eyes hurt after the eclipse" saw a noticeable increase.

When asked about national statistics on eye damage post-eclipse, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) informed Fox News Digital that the National Center for Health Statistics does not currently have any data on this issue.

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However, Dr. Nesheiwat reported treating up to eight patients at the City MD near Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan, where she works. One patient, she said, had looked at the sun either directly or through his phone for approximately 10 minutes. "The damage can be irreversible if the retina is severely damaged by looking directly at the sun without proper eye protection. Some people may have mild symptoms if the exposure to the sun was brief," she warned.

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While the majority of eclipse viewers took necessary precautions, there is a possibility that some may have used solar eclipse glasses that had been recalled. The Illinois Department of Public Health issued a last-minute recall notice on Monday for eclipse glasses that may not have met safety standards.

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The department urged customers to verify if they had purchased glasses labeled "EN ISO 12312-1:2022" and advised against using these glasses to view the eclipse. The glasses in question, marketed as "Biniki Solar Eclipse Glasses AAS Approved 2024 – CE & ISO Certified Safe Shades for Direct Sun Viewing (6 Packs)," were reportedly sold through Amazon and available at several Southern Illinois retail establishments.

These included Farm Fresh Market in Breese, Highland Tru Buy in Highland, Perry County Marketplace in Pinckneyville, Sinclair Foods in Jerseyville, Steelville Marketplace in Steelville, and Big John Grocery in Metropolis.

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