AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) — All eyes were on the sky for the total solar eclipse and ophthalmologists are fearing patients will fill their offices with eye damage.
John Odette is a general & refractive ophthalmologist at Austin Eye. He says anyone who stared at our sun without special glasses could have suffered damage.
“The reality is a lot of the damage that occurs can be permanent, but there can be some acute things that can be aided or repaired if we catch them early enough,” Dr. Odette said. “Luckily we have outstanding technology nowadays.”
He says modern technology can only do so much. Dr. Odette says adults should know better than to look at the sun, so he’s more worried about our little ones.
“I’ve been more worried about kids. I’ve seen reports of elementary schools doing watch parties,” Dr. Odette said.
“I have two young children of my own and I know the first thing kids are going to do – even if they have the glasses and you tell them not to take off the glasses – they’re going to take off the glasses and look at the sun,” he said.
The doctor says more than a few seconds of direct exposure to the sun will land you in his office surrounded by tools that’ll pick up damage to the back of your eye. He says you should see a doctor if you notice black spots or parts of your vision missing completely.
“Sometimes the effects can take a little bit longer to notice,” said Dr. Odette. “Even if you notice a problem a week from now or two weeks from now, get seen rather quickly.
Doctor Odette says another simple, free way to see if your eyes are damaged is the Amsler Grid test. Check out the graph here. You’ll see some distortion if you hurt yourself.