ST. LOUIS – Fallout from the solar eclipse continues as concerns arise of possible eye damage.
Scientists and medical professionals warned staring directly into the sun—for even just a moment—without protective eyewear could cause permanent damage. But how would you know if what you may be experiencing is serious or just your fears feeding your imagination?
KTVI contacted several clinics and hospitals in the St. Louis area – one of the cities located along the path of totality – and they said they haven't seen a surge in patients coming in with vision loss due to the eclipse. However, they are hearing of other issues.
Dr. Steven Couch, an ophthalmologist with Washington University at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, said he's had a lot of patients call in complaining of things like headaches, discomfort in their eyes, or their eyes feeling tired – all from the eclipse.
Couch said those symptoms are caused from starring at an image too long and not blinking. According to the doctor, eye drops and rest should solve that problem.
But if you truly did damage to your eyes by looking at the sun, you'll have vision problems.
“If somebody didn’t use the correct lenses, the back part of the eye—the retina—the center part of the retina, could be damaged and if that’s the case, the central portion of their vision would be blurry in one or both eyes,” Couch said. “It would also be fuzzy or even black right in the center of their vision.”
If you still aren't sure about what you might be experiencing, you can test yourself at home before seeing an eye doctor.
You can download an eye test (an Amsler Grid) online to test each eye. To take the test, focus on the center dot in the grid. If any lines are missing or appear wavy, you should get your eyes checked out.