CHARLOTTE, N.C. - “The eclipse is going to be a really fun thing, a once in a lifetime type thing,” Optometrist Charlene Henderson said.
Optometrists Henderson and Tracy Macintyre Raykovicz at Blink Eye Care hope everyone gets a chance to see the total solar eclipse in less than two weeks.
But their patients’ eye sight in the days following is even more important to them.
“There’s such a high risk and you get one pair of eyes for life,” said Henderson.
Without eye protection, anyone gazing is at risk to suffer ‘eclipse blindness’.
Doctors worry young children especially won’t understand the danger.
And those equipped with certified eclipse glasses, might still be tempted to peek if not closely monitored.
“If they peek above or below, they’re going to get damage. They can lose their vision, and it’s permanent. There’s no fixing it,” Raykovicz explained.
The condition is called solar retinopathy, and it happened to one of their patients who saw the solar eclipse back in 1979.
“She peeked out with one eye. In the very center of her vision, there’s a macular hole. So, if she were to look at you out of that eye she wouldn’t see your face. She could see everything around you,” said Raykovicz.
Doctors say the condition isn’t painful, but the retinal damage will cause a constant feeling, similar to that of seeing a bright flash.
The damage worsens after 10-14 days and there is no treatment.
“We really think unless you’re there with your kids it’s better off for them to view it on the TV,” Henderson advised.
Doctors warn windows also do not provide protections.
So far they’ve handed out 4,000 of these eclipse glasses free of charge to people in the community.