A remarkable new report claims that people were putting sunscreen in their eyes to protect themselves during the eclipse.
We’ve all done dumb things in our lives, but hopefully nothing as dumb as putting sunscreen on your eyeballs in order to protect your eyes during a solar eclipse. One report claims that’s exactly what people did, and they had to go to the hospital as a result.
KRCR TV in California quotes a nurse practitioner who claims that patients had checked into a local clinic complaining of pain from sunscreen directly on the eyes. The patients were referred to an opthalmologist. It’s possible it was accidental, as sunscreen can get in your eyes accidentally in a number of ways, but the story indicates that some of them were on purpose in a misguided attempt to protect from the sun’s harmful rays.
“One of my colleagues at moonlight here stated yesterday that they had patients presenting at their clinic that put sunscreen on their eyeball, and presented that they were having pain and they were referred to an ophthalmologist,” nurse practitioner Trish Patterson was quoted by KRCR as saying. Patterson added she hadn’t seen any cases of damage from looking directly at the sun.
Putting sunscreen in your eyes can result in pain and irritation, and the recommended treatment is to rinse them in running water. It shouldn’t cause any lasting damage, unlike staring directly at the sun without protection.
Instead, authorities recommended people use special glasses with filters that block out the harmful radiation of the sun while still allowing you to view it safely. Not everyone could get their hands on glasses before they sold out, so other people had to resort to more desperate measures including collanders, pinhole projectors and, it seems, putting sunscreen on their eyes.
Patterson added in a KRCR report that those experiencing blurred or impaired vision after watching the solar eclipse should see an eye doctor. It takes about 24 hours for symptoms to start showing up. You wouldn’t feel pain, as there are no pain receptors in the retina. It can take only a few second of staring at the sun to cause lasting damage that cannot be repairs. You’ll notice dark spots in the center of vision and some cloudiness.