Eye injuries after solar eclipse surge following phenomenon

Eye injuries after solar eclipse surge following phenomenon

Immediately after Monday’s solar eclipse, the number of people searching Google for eye-related injuries jumped while one doctor in New York City says she treated a surge of patients with eye pain.

“I had several patients come in panicking saying ‘I don’t want to go blind,’” Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a New York City-based double board-certified doctor tells Fox News Digital. “I couldn’t believe it, people actually looked at the eclipse without protection.”

Doctors and eye specialists had been warning the public for days not to look directly at the sun, but apparently, some did not heed the advice. 


People look toward the sky at the Edge at Hudson Yards observation deck ahead of a total solar eclipse in New York City on April 8, 2024. (Charly Triballeau/AFP)

Looking at the sun without protective equipment such as solar eclipse glasses can harm vision and can lead to serious and permanent damage. Nesheiwat says the sun’s rays can burn the retina and damage the macula, the part of the retina at the back of the eye that is responsible for central vision.

Google searches for “hurt eyes” and “why do my eyes hurt after the eclipse” rose after the moon and sun aligned on Monday.

In terms of national figures, a CDC spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the National Center for Health Statistics does not have any data on eye damage following the eclipse. 

However, Nesheiwat says she treated up to eight patients who came into the City MD she works out of near Madison Square Garden in Midtown Manhattan, with one patient looking at the sun either directly or through his phone for about 10 minutes, she says.

“The damage can be irreversible if the retina is severely damaged by looking directly at the without proper eye protection. Some people may have mild symptoms if the exposure to the sun was brief.”

Dr Nesheiwat and eclipse Monday

Dr. Janette Nesheiwat says she treated patients for eye damage on Monday following the eclipse. (Fox News, left, and Gary Hershorn/Getty Images, right.)


“Symptoms my patients suffered included headaches, blurry vision, and nausea while one of my patients said he was seeing spots. Other symptoms can include a change in color vision,” Nesheiwat added, saying she sent that patient to an eye care specialist, known as an ophthalmologist, for further treatment. “Then it was crazy, we were trying to make appointments for them with the eye specialists and all the eye specialists were booked up within an hour.”

She treated some patients with nausea medicine and eyedrops and recommended they have follow-up appointments with an eye doctor. 

Symptoms may appear after a few days, Nesheiwat said, and she urged people to visit a medical doctor to have a full eye examination if this is the case. 

In the meantime, she said those people should stop looking at the sun, avoid rubbing their eyes, avoid strenuous activities on the eyes like excessive reading or use of electronic devices. She added they need to make sure they are wearing sunglasses that have UV protection when outdoors also. 

People watch with solar glasses as the moon starts to cross in front of the sun during a total solar eclipse in Carbondale, Illinois

People watch with solar glasses as the moon starts to cross in front of the sun during a total solar eclipse in Carbondale, Illinois on April 8, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)


While the vast majority took precautions while gazing at the eclipse, there is a chance some may have done so with solar eclipse glasses that have been recalled. 

The Illinois Department of Public Health sent out a last-minute recall notice on Monday for eclipse glasses that may have potentially failed to meet safety standards. 

The agency asked customers to double-check if they had bought the glasses labeled “EN ISO 12312-1:2022” and warned them not to use the glasses to view the eclipse. 

The glasses in question were reportedly sold through Amazon as “Biniki Solar Eclipse Glasses AAS Approved 2024 – CE & ISO Certified Safe Shades for Direct Sun Viewing (6 Packs).” The glasses were also reportedly available at several Southern Illinois retail establishments, including Farm Fresh Market in Breese, Highland Tru Buy in Highland, Perry County Marketplace in Pinckneyville, Sinclair Foods in Jerseyville, Steelville Marketplace in Steelville and Big John Grocery in Metropolis.

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