No eye injuries reported from eclipse watching in the Vail Valley
August 22, 2017
VAIL — As far as anyone can see, no Vail Valley locals stared into the sun long enough to do any damage.
A roundup of several ophthalmologists and medical facilities all elicited the same basic response.
"Well, no," said the folks who answered the phone at the Urgent Care Clinic in Gypsum.
Millions watched Monday's celestial sensation, and many grabbed a quick glimpse without proper eye protection. Looking directly at the sun can damage your fovea, a spot in the retina that creates sharp, central vision, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Staring at the sun for even a few seconds could cause damage, said Dr. Neil Bressler, a professor of ophthalmology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
The retina doesn't have any pain receptors — so it's hard to know at the time if you've done any damage, Bressler said.
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Symptoms can include:
• Blurry vision,
• A central blind spot in one or both eyes,
• Increased sensitivity to light,
• Distorted vision or
• Changes in the way you see color, known as "chromatopsia."
If you have those symptoms, the American Optometric Association suggests a call to your doctor.
Your vision might return to normal on its own. In a 2002 study, of the 15 patients in England who suffered solar retinopathy by staring too long at the 1999 eclipse, 13 had normal vision again in an eye exam eight to 12 months later.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.