Signs of eye damage from staring at solar eclipse

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Ophthalmologists expect to see a few patients who might have injured to their eyes by staring at the sun during Monday’s solar eclipse.

Called solar retinopathy, the injury occurs when the sun rays damage the retina, a layer of light-sensitive cells in the back of the eye.

Patients may lose their central vision and only be able to see via their side vision. They may develop blurred vision and headache or lose the ability to see colors.

These symptoms may develop immediately or in the hours after staring at the sun.

“Solar retinopathy is not very common,” said Dr. Jaime Membreno, an ophthalmologist at Retina Macula Specialists in Winter Park, Fla., in an email. “However I do see and treat many cases that are very similar to solar retinopathy every day.”

Absent a solar eclipse, solar retinopathy is mostly diagnosed among individuals who gaze at the sun during religious rituals, or are exposed to the sun for long periods of time…

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