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How seconds of staring at the solar eclipse led to a world of hurt for one woman

8 Dec 2017, 01:30 UTC
How seconds of staring at the solar eclipse led to a world of hurt for one woman
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An optical coherence tomography image of a woman’s left-eye retina shows a crescent-shaped scar. (Wu et al.. / JAMA Ophthalmology)
A medical case reported today in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology proved the wisdom of all those warnings not to stare at the partly covered sun during August’s solar eclipse.
Unfortunately, it’s too late for the woman at the center of the case: Now she has a permanent scar in her left eye’s retina, and a permanent black spot in her field of vision.
The unnamed woman, who’s in her 20s, reported in at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai hours after the Aug. 21 eclipse, complaining of blurred vision and color distortion, mainly in her dominant left eye.
Physicians said she had “viewed the solar rim several times for approximately 6 seconds without protective glasses, and then again for approximately 15 to 20 seconds with a pair of eclipse glasses (unknown manufacturer).”
During the peak of the eclipse, about 70 percent of the sun’s area was obscured by the moon, leaving a bright crescent still visible. When doctors examined the woman, they found a crescent-shaped scar burned into her retina.

Experts have known for decades about the ...

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