Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Google Searches For ‘Eye Damage’ Skyrocketed After Eclipse

Google searches for the keyword, ‘eyes hurt’ spiked on Monday, after the total solar eclipse swept through parts of North America.

This suggested that many people were concerned about having looked at the eclipse too long.

Eye experts have confirmed that it’s a valid concern as glancing at the sun without proper protective equipment can permanently damage your eyes and harm your vision.

eclipse glasses
Eclipse glasses come with a solar filter that blocks out the sun’s infrared radiation and harmful ultraviolet rays. They are also designed to protect your eyes from the intense visible light.

They emphasized that it takes as little as one second for the sun to damage the eyes without proper glasses. The fact that the moon is completely blocking the sun also tends to give people a false sense of safety, while it is in fact, extremely damaging without proper protection.

Fortunately, while eye pain and other vision issues are common after eclipse events, long-term damage is fairly rare.

Experts have also emphasized that eye pain is not the best indicator of a severe issue as ‘solar retinopathy’ – a condition in which the retina is damaged due to direct sun exposure – typically develops without immediate pain.

Aside from solar retinopathy, eclipse glancing can also burn the cornea, or outside of the eye. The good news is that most cases will resolve on their own, without any lasting damage.

eyes hurt google
The terms ‘why do my eyes hurt’ and ‘my eyes hurt’ both spiked after the solar eclipse

Solar retinopathy, on the other hand, is more serious and requires medical attention right away. Symptoms include wavy lines or a blind spot in your vision, blurry vision, and floaters, and will typically appear within 24 hours of glancing at the sun. In severe cases, however, symptoms may develop right away.

Most people will not experience any pain.

After the previous eclipse that took place in 2017, ophthalmologists saw an increase in patients with eye complaints, some of whom experienced partial recoveries.

How Long Will the Symptoms Last?

solar retinopathy
Solar retinopathy affects the retina, or the back of the eyes

Those with solar retinopathy may recover on their own without treatment, depending on the severity of the damage. For example, it’s not uncommon for individuals to recover within three to six months.

Symptoms that persist for longer than six months, however, may become permanent. For instance, some people may continue to experience blind spots or distortions in their vision.

The risk of lasting damage will increase, proportional to the brightness of the sun exposure and the length of time spent glancing at the eclipse.

Treatments For Solar Retinopathy

Experts advise those who have concerns about their vision after eclipse glancing to seek medical attention.

While there’s no known treatment for the condition, resting your eyes and not exposing them to additional light can accelerate the healing process.

Brooke Carter
Brooke Carter
Freelance writer who loves dogs and anything related to Japanese culture.
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