Man Who Suffered Eye Damage In 1962 Solar Eclipse Warns Others About The Risks Of Directly Looking At The Sun

Posted: Aug 19 2017, 1:10am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News

 
Man who Suffered Eye Damage in 1962 Solar Eclipse Warns Others about the Risks of Directly Looking at the Sun
Credit: NASA
 

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A total solar eclipse, which is when the Moon completely covers the Sun, will occur across U.S. on Aug 21

On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will be viewable across United States. Over the course of one and a half hour, all the states from Oregon to South Carolina will get to see darkness for sometime in the middle of the day.

This is the first time in 99 years that a solar eclipse will march across United States from coast to coast. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible the entire United States was in 1918.

While many people are planning to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, an elderly man from Oregon is warning others of the dangers of looking directly at the sun during the eclipse.

Lou Tomososki, now 70, was a high school kid in 1962 when he and a friend watched the partial solar eclipse with their naked eyes. Though they stared at the eclipse for only few seconds, it left him with vision problems for the rest of the life. While watching, he saw flashes of light similar to the ones that occur after taking a picture with a camera with a flashbulb.

“We both got burned at the same time. He got the left eye and I got the right eye,” Tomososki told TODAY show.

“We were just doing it for a short time,” he said. “I have a little blind spot in the center of my right eye.”

Tomososki's condition is called solar retinopathy – permanent damage to the eye retina caused by directly looking directly at the sun. The damage occurs in a spot in retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision. As a result, people with solar retinopathy may experience blur vision or partial blindness.

“Anyone who stares at the sun can get this blind spot,” said Dr. Russell N. Van Gelder, a professor of ophthalmology at University of Washington School of Medicine. “When you know that you have a problem is if that blind spot has not gone away (the next day).”

Tomososki is worried that many people will try to look at this year’s solar eclipse and will get their eyes damaged. So he urges them to wear eye protection while they glance at the eclipse.

“Millions of people out there are going to be looking out at it … How many of them are going to say, ‘Something happened to my eyes?’” he said. “That makes me sick.”

Looking directly at the sun is never safe. NASA recommends that people who plan to view the eclipse should use special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer, to protect their eyes from harmful rays of sun. Even if you are going to stare at the sun for just few seconds, it can lead to serious eye damage or permanent blindness.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.

 

 

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