The millions who watched this summer’s total eclipse included a New York woman who has been left with a crescent-shaped burn in her eye.
A JAMA Ophthalmology report Thursday says the woman went to the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary three days after the Aug. 21 solar eclipse complaining of blurred and distorted vision.
She told doctors that she looked at the sun without eclipse glasses several times for about six seconds and then put on protective glasses she borrowed from a stranger and stared at the sun for about 15 to 20 seconds.
Doctors used an adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy to view the damage done to her retina. The images showed a lesion that “resembles the solar rim during a partial solar eclipse” on her left eye.
“It’s amazing,” retinal specialist Sunir Garg at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, told the Wall Street Journal. “The pattern of the injury is that same crescent shape that you would see viewing the eclipse.”
The woman, who was in her 20s, also drew what she was seeing and resembled the same crescent shape that was found on her eye. She was diagnosed with solar retinopathy, retinal injury caused by staring at the sun directly. The rare eye injury is usually reported by people after viewing the eclipse.
The total solar eclipse lasted two and a half minutes. For months, experts warned about lasting eye damage if people looked at the sun directly without proper eclipse glasses.
Some counterfeit solar eclipse glasses circulated on the internet that could cause severe eye damage.
The next total solar eclipse in the U.S. will be in 2024.