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If eclipse was too irresistible for your naked eyes, here’s a way to test vision

Ann Kim Tenhor, of Arlington, Mass., uses protective eclipse glasses to view a partial solar eclipse, Aug. 21 in Cambridge, Mass. Others were not so lucky to have the glasses, and doctors have seen patients fearing vision damage after the eclipse.
Ann Kim Tenhor, of Arlington, Mass., uses protective eclipse glasses to view a partial solar eclipse, Aug. 21 in Cambridge, Mass. Others were not so lucky to have the glasses, and doctors have seen patients fearing vision damage after the eclipse. The Associated Press

There were plenty of warnings about wearing eye protection to view the Aug. 21 eclipse, so much so that most area retailers sold out of the eclipse-viewing glasses.

If you just couldn’t resist a peak with your naked eye, there’s an Amsler grid test online that can help you do a preliminary vision check. The test can help detect changes in your retina, including solar retinopathy. It’s still best to see your eye doctor if you have concerns.

Symptoms of eye damage from viewing the eclipse without proper protection include blurred vision, pain, blind spots or cloudiness in your vision.

Most folks appear to have heeded the warnings.

Some doctors have reported seeing a few patients who fear they might have damaged their eyes by looking at the eclipse without protection, but there hasn’t been a stampede of folks to area eye-care providers.

“Kaiser Permanente has seen one patient who suffered eye damage in the Tacoma area and others in the Puget Sound who have reported eye symptoms related to the solar eclipse,” reported Jackson Holtz, a spokesman for the medical group.

Dr. Tony Huynh is an ophthamology specialist with Pacific Medical Centers who earlier this month gave advice on detecting the warning signs of eye damage, post-eclipse viewing.

“Things have been pretty quiet on his side, and he hasn’t seen a lot of patients with resulting injuries,” a spokeswoman for Huynh told The News Tribune this week. “He did have a few patients that had mild symptoms after viewing the eclipse briefly without glasses.”

What about those who were in in the path of totality?

The Oregonian reported Friday that Oregon Health and Sciences University Casey Eye Institute had seen only a handful of patients who feared solar-related eye damage. Nine patients visited OHSU’s mobile medical van in Salem after Monday’s eclipse viewing party, and a few more a day later, according to The Oregonian. None showed signs of permanent retinal damage.

While looking at the eclipse without protective gear might not have been the wisest decision, some folks went to wacky extremes to try to protect their peepers, including allegedly applying sunscreen to their eyes.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell

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