Man Who Burned Retina During 1962 Eclipse Warns Others of Viewing Dangers

Man Who Burned Retina During 1962 Eclipse Warns Others of Viewing Dangers

Unfortunately, every time there's a solar eclipse, some people don't take the warnings seriously and look straight at the sun.

Only at locations within the 70-mile swath can the eclipse be viewed, during its totality, with the naked eye. But it was enough to permanently damage Lou Tomososki's right eye. Tomososki stressed in an interview with KPTV, an NBC affiliate, that it didn't take long for damage to set in. "How many of them are going to say, 'Something happened to my eyes?' That makes me sick".

"The sun at that time, at 3:30 p.m., was in the one o'clock position", said Tomososki. "It doesn't get any worse or better". "But, even though it's not painful, those harmful rays are still getting in your eyes and focused right onto the center of your retina, and that's where it does the damage".

The damage occurs in the fovea, a small spot in the retina that is responsible for sharp, central vision.

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The potential damage could be permanent, according to a leading eye surgeon. His friend suffered damage in the left eye. Dr. Russell Van Gelder, a clinical spokesman for the AAO and director of the University of Washington Medicine Eye Institute in Seattle, told Live Science a solar retinopathy looks like someone "took a hole punch and just punched out the photoreceptive cells in the retina". As a result, Tomososki now states that he had been living with a blind spot at the center of his eye for the last 55 years. But keep in mind that appropriate glasses alone won't save you. "When you partially obscure the sun with the moon, it's not so bright, and it's not so painful to actually look at it", Hubbard said.

While Tomososki's teachers warned him to use a pinhole projector box, which creates a reflection of the eclipse for safe viewing, he didn't heed the warning.

A total solar eclipse is slated to happen on Monday, as the Moon will cross in front of the Sun, blotting out the light from our favorite star for a couple of minutes along a 70-mile-wide swath of the US that runs from OR to SC. It's important to highlight the same thing can happen to cameras, so if you plan to snap some photos of the solar eclipse, put the glasses on the lens.

According to KGW, Tomososki says he will be outside on August 21, but he won't be looking skyward.

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