Eye damage from eclipse can show later: What you need to know

If you damaged your eyes during the eclipse, it might take a while before you see symptoms.

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The first full solar eclipse to pass over America in 99 years happened this afternoon, and residents across the country came out to watch the event.

Those who didn’t use certified eclipse-viewing glasses or alternative methods like a pinhole projector risked injuring their eyes and possible permanent damage.

But it might take a while for that damage to show. Dr. B. Ralph Chou, resident of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and a former optometry professor, said that symptoms generally begin 12 hours after viewing the eclipse when people wake up in the morning and notice their vision has been altered.

>> Related: Man who claims he lost vision after staring at eclipse issues warning to sky watchers

Prior to the eclipse, doctors warned that people should proceed with caution and use proper eye protection when looking up at the sun during the event.

Dr. Amina Husain, with Premier Eye Surgeons, said even with protective glasses, it’s not recommended you look too long at the eclipse, WHIO reported.

“You can theoretically burn your retina and potentially go blind, and that’s a big complication,” said Husain.

Dr. Barry Gridley, who practices at Eye Care Locale in downtown Dayton, Ohio, said even on a regular day, he still sometimes sees patients with damage from looking right at the sun.

“Your retina is protein, and heat fries protein and there’s nothing we can do to restore it,” Gridley said.

The moon partially covers the sun after a total eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, near Redmond, Ore. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP

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