A woman who made the very bad decision to stare at the sun during the eclipse now has permanent eye damage in the shape of a crescent.
Experts around the country constantly warned people during the Great American Solar Eclipse on Aug. 21 not to stare directly at the sun, but one New York woman decided not to heed those warnings and is paying a very big price as a result. Nia Payne, 26, viewed the solar eclipse in Staten Island without pretection and eventually ended up in the emergency room with a permanent crescent shape obstacle in her vision.
Scientists detailed this case in a study published in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology, as doctors used technology called adaptive optics to view how the sun damaged the eye on the cellular level. It’s a major development because scientists would have needed to use a microscope to do this in the past.
Payne didn’t have any of the special eclipse glasses to view the event, and as the afternoon started to dim eerily, she looked up at the sun for a few seconds but then looked away. So she asked a nearby woman if she could borrow glasses, who relented. Unfortunately, scientists think she was given glasses that were not up to international safety standards.
“What is the structural change seen with acute solar retinopathy on high-resolution in vivo en face imaging?” reads the abstract from the paper. “In this case of a young adult woman who presented 3 days after viewing a solar eclipse with classic symptoms of solar retinopathy, 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.”