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Do your eyes hurt after the solar eclipse? Here’s what you need to know

August 22, 2017 3:24 PM
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So you looked directly at the sun while trying to watch the solar eclipse. Maybe you didn’t read the warnings or couldn’t get your hands on a pair of eclipse glasses. Or maybe you did have them but couldn’t resist, just for a few seconds, staring straight at the sun with your naked eyes, experts be darned.

Did you cause damage to your eyes? It’s hard to tell immediately, experts say.

“Short-term issues can include solar keratitis, which is similar to sunburn of the cornea (the front part of the eye),” UnitedHealthcare Vision chief executive Linda Chous told NBC News. “This can cause eye pain and light sensitivity, with symptoms often occurring within 24 hours after exposure.”

Trickier to detect right away is any long-term damage to the retina in the back of the eye. Staring straight at the sun can cause a condition called solar retinopathy, which leads to a decrease or distortion of a person’s central vision, said Sveta Kavali, an ophthalmologist and retina specialist at Saint Louis University.

A couple in welding mask stop for a kiss before the total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017 in Alliance, Nebraska.

People gather to watch the total solar eclipse, at Carhenge, on Aug. 21, 2017 in Alliance, Nebraska.

The great American eclipse on the Wind River Indian Reservation on Aug. 21, 2017 in Riverton, Wyoming.

People gather to watch the total solar eclipse, at Carhenge, on Aug. 21, 2017 in Alliance, Nebraska.

2017 Elise Nardi of Denver writes in her journal as the moon slowly blocks the sun during the Solar Eclipse at Denver in Civic Center Park in Downtown. Aug. 21, 2017 Denver.

2017 The last look at the moon covering the sun before the clouds covered the sky during the Solar Eclipse in Downtown Denver at Civic Center Park. Aug. 21, 2017 Denver.

2017 People gather in Civic Center Park downtown Denver to observe the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

Meredith Levy, center, and her daughter Zahava, 6, bottom right, use glasses to view the sun during the Great American Eclipse observation event Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. There was a safe solar-scope viewing and an "Eclipsercise" where kids re-created the movements of the moon and Earth with their bodies.

A woman looks at the the sun through a tree as it projects crescent shadows on the ground during the Great American Eclipse observation event Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. There was a safe solar-scope viewing and an "Eclipsercise" where kids re-created the movements of the moon and Earth with their bodies.

Sepideh Kianbakht looks at the sun during a solar eclipse viewing party at Colorado School of Mines on Aug. 21, 2017, in Golden. The Colorado School of Mines cancelled classes from 10 until one on Monday so students could take in the solar eclipse.

Students sit on a ridge as they watch the sun during a solar eclipse viewing party at Colorado School of Mines on Aug. 21, 2017, in Golden. The Colorado School of Mines cancelled classes from 10 until one on Monday so students could take in the solar eclipse.

Miles Thiry peers through a telescope at the sun during a solar eclipse viewing party at Colorado School of Mines on Aug. 21, 2017, in Golden. The Colorado School of Mines cancelled classes from 10 until one on Monday so students could take in the solar eclipse.

Ignacio Varela kicks a hackey sack as he plays with a group of friends during a solar eclipse viewing party at Colorado School of Mines on Aug. 21, 2017, in Golden. The Colorado School of Mines cancelled classes from 10 until one on Monday so students could take in the solar eclipse.

Amelia Foster, 10, looks at the sun while on the grass during the Great American Eclipse observation event Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. There was a safe solar-scope viewing and an "Eclipsercise" where kids re-created the movements of the moon and Earth with their bodies.

Kids participate in an "Eclipsercise" to re-create the movements of the moon and Earth with their bodies during the Great American Eclipse observation event Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. There was also a safe solar-scope viewing.

Volunteer Marlene Goettelman looks through a telescope during the Great American Eclipse observation event Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. There was a safe solar-scope viewing and an "Eclipsercise" where kids re-created the movements of the moon and Earth with their bodies.

The great American eclipse goes into totality on the Wind River Indian Reservation on Aug. 21, 2017 in Riverton, Wyoming.

Michael Whalen, left, Kate Musselman, right, and Seika Blue, 7, bottom, look at the sun during the Great American Eclipse observation event Monday, Aug. 21, 2017 at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. There was a safe solar-scope viewing and an "Eclipsercise" where kids re-created the movements of the moon and Earth with their bodies.

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 21: 2017 People gather to watch the Solar Eclipse in Downtown Denver at Civic Center Park. August 21, 2017 Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 21: 2017 People gather to watch the Solar Eclipse in Downtown Denver at Civic Center Park. August 21, 2017 Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)

Frank Whitby, of Salt Lake City, Utah, watches the total solar eclipse through a box with solar film affixed to the front on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

Carol Wilmot (left), Jeri Kennah (center) and Phyllis Kriese watch the total solar eclipse along with fellow residents at Mountain Vista Retirement Residence on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.

Domenic Geboe looks at the eclipse as it goes into totality on the Wind River Indian Reservation on Aug. 21, 2017 in Riverton, Wyoming.

Source: denverpost.com

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