This Is What A Retina Damaged By A Solar Eclipse Looks Like

This Is What A Retina Damaged By A Solar Eclipse Looks Like
Image: Danielle Elder (via Flickr)

Don’t stare at the sun during a solar eclipse. Just don’t. If you’re wondering what kind of damage this celestial phenomenon can cause, look no further than these high-resolution photos that’ll make you think twice about checking one out unprotected.

The images below, taken from a woman who we can all agree could have exercised better judgement, appear in a report by Chris Y. Wu, Michael E. Jansen and Jorge Andrade entitled “Acute Solar Retinopathy Imaged With Adaptive Optics, Optical Coherence Tomography Angiography, and En Face Optical Coherence Tomography”.

One guess as to what “solar retinopathy” means.

Image: JAMA Ophthalmol

So, what sort of exposure caused the damage? I’ll let the report explain:

During the solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, a woman in her 20s viewed the solar rim several times for approximately 6 seconds without protective glasses and then again for approximately 15 to 20 seconds with a pair of eclipse glasses (unknown manufacturer). She reports looking at the eclipse with both eyes open.

Poor decision making aside, it did give optometrists a chance to see in detail the damage caused by the eclipse:

…adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy provided high-resolution images of foveal cone photoreceptor mosaic disturbance, and en face optical coherence tomography showed corresponding reflectivity changes. Optical coherence tomography angiography was normal in both eyes, and microperimetry showed an absolute central scotoma in the more affected eye.

Just looking at the pictures makes my eyes wince.

[JAMA, via LiveScience]