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The Solar Eclipse Burned a Crescent Shape Into This Woman's Eye

The Solar Eclipse Burned a Crescent Shape Into This Woman's Eye
From TIME - December 7, 2017

The total solar eclipse in August came with a well-publicized warning: Whatever you do, dont stare at the sun without protective glasses.

What got less publicity, according to Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, was how to choose the right protective glassesand that knowledge gap has fueled a case study the assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai published in JAMA Ophthalmology on Thursday.

In the case study, Deobhakta and his colleagues describe the plight of a 20-something woman who viewed the eclipse through what turned out to be defective glasses. Four hours after staring at the sun for about six seconds without glasses, then approximately 15 to 20 seconds with glasses, she began to experience color and vision distortions, as well as blurry vision, particularly in her left eye. She could also see a central black spot with her left eye.

When she arrived at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai (NYEE) seeking treatment, doctors used adaptive optics to see detailed images of the cells that make up the photoreceptor layer of the retina, the part of the eye that converts light into electrical energy that the brain can interpret. The technology allowed them to analyze her sun-related damage, called solar retinopathy, in extremely granular detail, Deobhakta says. They found that the eclipse had apparently burned a crescent shape into the womans retina.

We were able to really classify how photoreceptors were damaged to the point where it literally looked almost like a shadow of the eclipse crescent on the photoreceptor area, Deobhakta explains. What the layman would think would happen actually kind of did happen, and has been shown by really, really precise technology.

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