Woman reveals how staring at 2017 eclipse for just 10 seconds left her with ‘irreversible eye damage’

Tuesday, April 9, 2024
 – A woman from Brooklyn, New York, USA who squinted at the 2017 solar eclipse for 10 seconds without proper eye protection is now warning others of the “irreversible eye damage” she suffered including a blind spot in the middle of her left iris.

Bridget Kyeremateng, 29, said that she looked up at the spectacle without any eye protection after being unable to secure a pair of protective glasses, thinking “a couple of seconds wouldn’t do anything.

She made the revelation on Monday, April 8, just hours before a solar eclipse was expected to be partially visible in the Big Apple.

“I couldn’t focus on the sun or the exact curvature of the moon. I thought I would close one of my eyes to get a better focus. I could barely see anything, but I stared at the sun for a good 10 to 15 seconds before my eyes were starting to not feel good, so I walked inside,” recalled Kyeremateng, who works in marketing in the Big Apple.

She said she felt fine the rest of the day but woke up the next morning unable to read the words on her phone screen out of her left eye, the same eye she stared at the eclipse with.

“I couldn’t see every other word because there was a blind spot right in the middle focus of my iris, so for every other word I was trying to read, it was pretty much invisible,” she said.

Kyeremateng described “freaking out” when she also could barely make out anything beyond “white dots just floating around” when looking out of her left eye.

“I thought maybe I just didn’t wake up, like, I wasn’t fully awake,” she said. “I walked around the house, and I would cover up my right eye to see if I was seeing this correctly. There were these very white focal dots that would distort images.”

Kyeremateng immediately visited the eye doctor, where she eventually learned that her retina was not damaged but that there was some distortion to her vision as a result of the sun damage.

“There is some distortion that has happened because I looked at the sun, which causes a bit of what [the eye doctor] calls ‘slow 20/20 vision,’ ” Kyeremateng explained.

The solar eclipse took place Monday, April 8, blocking the sun for over 180 million people in its path. It moved fro from Mexico’s Pacific Coast across North America, hitting 15 US states and pulling itself all the way to the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

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