Eye damage despite “all precautions”

Eye damage despite “all precautions”

Pascal was nervous as the eclipse approached. “I'm a very anxious person in life in general. I wondered if it would be a good idea to go see the eclipse, given the eye risks,” she said in an interview with Newsweek. the sun.

On Monday, Pascal gathered her courage with both hands. Since her uncle is an astronomer, she decides to go with him to observe the stellar phenomenon near Megantic.

Two months ago, his mother ordered a set of 24 glasses from Amazon. “They were ISO 123122 certified glasses. She said they met the standards,” she says.

At the site, Pascal checks in on her uncle. “He said they looked better than the ones I had. I thought it would be okay.”

Three minutes

When the eclipse is partial, Pascal takes a short look at the bright crescent moon, still wearing her glasses.

“I really followed all the recommendations. I never looked at the sun directly with my eyes. I looked at the ground before I put the glasses on my face. I attached them to the tabs on each side so they were as close to my eyes as possible, to make sure I I won't let the sun pass.”

According to recommendations, it is safe to view the eclipse with the naked eye during the period of complete darkness. Pascal did this for a few seconds, no more.

In all, Pascal estimates she saw the eclipse for about three minutes, either with or without her glasses, during total darkness.


An hour after leaving Megantic, Pascal began to feel pain in her eyes. “It felt like chlorine got into my eyes. It was hot,” she describes.

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The next day the pain does not go away. So Pascal goes to the eye doctor at Levi's.

After conducting the necessary tests, the Quebec resident was diagnosed with photokeratitis, or sunburn in the superficial part of the eye.

Pascal has avoided the worst. She did not suffer a retinal burn and had no long-term effects. Within a week, the pain should go away if she uses the lubricating drops and antibiotics she was prescribed, according to her eye doctor.

“If I had looked longer, I probably would have had a real problem with my retina. It's worrying,” she says.

Contacted by the sun, The Levis Clinic confirmed that it had diagnosed some eye problems associated with the eclipse. Out of respect for the confidentiality of her patients, she was unable to comment on specific cases.

“Sense of injustice”

The day after her diagnosis, Pascal was still in pain. “I'm really angry. I'll never go back to see the eclipse. I don't trust any glasses anymore.”

After taking all these precautions, the citizen felt “a feeling of injustice,” saying, “I was not negligent. I did everything to prevent this from happening. In the end, that's what's happening to me, and what's more, it could have been worse.

Pascal believes her glasses were produced by a fraudulent company, like the one Amazon refunded last week.

Days before the eclipse, the company offered refunds to customers who purchased solar eclipse glasses that were identified as “likely not from a supplier listed on the eclipse.” existing It is approved by the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

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Pascal's mother had not received notice or compensation, according to her daughter.

There are no “dangerous” products.

join the sun, Amazon wanted to make clear that this action was taken out of caution. To his knowledge, no dangerous products were sold.

“We constantly monitor our sales site for non-compliant products. “When we discover that a product was not detected by our proactive checks, we immediately resolve the issue and improve our controls,” an Amazon spokesperson said via email.

If customers have concerns about an item they have purchased, the company encourages them to contact its customer service department directly.

“We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused our customers,” the spokesperson says.

Other cases?

Since the eclipse, there has been a demand for optometrists. “We saw a nice increase in call volume the day after the eclipse,” says Carl Brosseau, MD, an ophthalmologist at Doyle.

However, the majority of calls are related to minor symptoms. “We had more eye emergencies than usual. But nothing major. I didn't know there was any burned retina in my retina,” he says.

The same note from the Association of Optometrists of Quebec (AOQ). “Optometry clinics received calls following the eclipse, most of which were mild cases (discomfort, dry eyes, tears),” says Louise Dionne, AOQ spokesperson.

Dehydration, an aggravating factor

Photokeratitis is caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation. “During the eclipse, people looked at the sun. They were exposed a little more to ultraviolet light, which could have caused some cases of photokeratitis,” agrees Mr. Brosseau.

However, the expert points out that prior dry eyes increase the chances of developing this eye problem. “A lot of people suffer from dry eyes in life. During the eclipse, they were exposed to the elements and it may have bothered them a little bit.

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Thus, Pascal photokeratitis can be caused by “a combination of several factors,” according to Carl Brosseau.

Note: At Pascal's request, we are not publishing her last name.

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About the Author: Octávio Florencio

"Evangelista zumbi. Pensador. Criador ávido. Fanático pela internet premiado. Fanático incurável pela web."

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