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Doctor says he received influx of patients with eye problems after solar eclipse

Doctor says he received influx of patients with eye problems after solar eclipse


People didn't heed doctor's warnings to wear protective glasses

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(Web Desk) - An expert has revealed that people didn't heed doctor's warnings to wear protective glasses when looking at the sun during Monday's solar eclipse.

One New Jersey ophthalmologist said he's received an influx of patient visits and phone calls from people complaining about eye pain after viewing the celestial event.

Dr. Jeffrey Dello Russo, an ophthalmologist and LASIK eye surgeon at Dello Russo Laser Vision/New Jersey Eye Center, told DailyMail.com that he's spoken with approximately 25 patients who damaged their eyes during the eclipse.

Dello Russo confirmed that some of his patients, about three to four people, had some difficulties with their color vision and had admitted to glancing at the eclipse without the protective glasses.

'A couple people admitted they didn't wear the solar eclipse glasses at all, some misunderstood or tried with sunglasses, and some said they shared glasses with others.'

'One of the key things beyond irritation and discomfort, one of the main worries, is solar retinopathy,' Dello Russo said.

This is when damage occurs to the rods and cones in the back of the eye area which can cause color distortion and blindness.

'There are no pain receptors when staring at the solar eclipse,' he said, 'so long-term damage could occur.'

Staring at the eclipse with the naked eye can cause minor damage like irritation and blurred vision called photokeratitis, which Dello Russo described as 'almost like getting a sunburn on your retina,' which will heal on its own.

The last solar eclipse that could be seen from the US was in 2017 but had a much smaller path of totality and could be seen in mostly rural areas.

At the time, Dello Russo said there were about 100 cases of people who experienced total vision loss from looking at the solar eclipse without the appropriate ISO glasses.

Solar eclipse glasses are only legitimate if they had an ISO marking on the inside of the frame and last month, the American Astronomical Society warned people of counterfeit and fake versions that were being sold online.

For the 2024 eclipse, Dello Russo said he watched it in Brooklyn - which was outside of the path of totality - and said he witnessed people staring at the sky without wearing solar eclipse glasses.

He said he stopped to tell those people that it only takes a couple of seconds to cause lasting damage and said they seemed appreciative and 'everyone listened.'

If anyone is experiencing symptoms that could be related to viewing the solar eclipse, Dello Russo urged people to get it checked immediately.

'It's a great excuse to get an eye exam anyway,' he said, 'but if you are experiencing any symptoms go to a doctor right away.'