Doctors warn of possible eye injuries during solar eclipse - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Doctors warn of possible eye injuries during solar eclipse

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

Millions of people will have their eyes glued to the sun this coming Monday during the solar eclipse. Doctors say the sun's rays are strong enough to burn parts of your eye, causing vision loss even within seconds of looking at it.

Area eye doctors are pleading that people follow the directions when watching the eclipse, saying the damage can be permanent.

"The instance with the eclipse is that there's a draw and attention drawn to it in a temptation to look, but the only safe way to directly observe an eclipse is with the eclipse glasses," said Doctor Tom Petrie, Cedar Valley Eye Care.

Without those glasses people run the risk of damaging their eyes.

"Light that is as intense as the sun can burn your retina and the retina is the nerve layer of the eye that sends the images to your brain so if you look directly at the sun it causes free radical production and can cause permanent damage leaving you with permanent loss of vision," said Dr. Petrie.

Dr. Petrie says you should never look directly at the sun with your naked eye or through a camera lens, but if you do it's important to use those special glasses or a filter for your camera. 

"At no point during the eclipse here in Iowa are we safe looking directly at the sun because we are outside of the path of totality where the eclipse completely obstructs the sun," said Dr. Petrie.

Doctor Petrie says it takes seconds to cause major damage to your eyes.

"It can be instantaneous so it can be as short as looking directly at the sun for a short period of time," said Dr. Petrie. 

Dr. Petrie says if the sun does burn your retinas people can experience sensitivity to light and blind spots in vision. He says some people can recover within six months, but there can be permanent damage depending on how badly the retina is burned.

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