Eclipse sends some Chattahoochee Valley residents to doctors

COLUMBUS, Ga. — The Solar Eclipse has come and gone, but many folks are finding it hard to get back to normal. There have been reports of nausea and headaches, right here in our newsroom. And West Georgia Eye Care has seen an uptick in appointments.

Dr. Patrick Stow says there is short and long term damage associated with looking directly at the sun. Short term damage is akin to sunburn.

“That’s damage to the superficial most structures of the eye, the cornea in particular. The cornea  is super sensitive, it’s the most sensitive tissue in the body. It has really, really sensitive nerve endings for good reason. If you damage it, it’s not a good thing,” said Dr. Stow, Optometrist with West Georgia Eye Care in Columbus.

The patient would have some light sensitivity issues, irritation and pain. The good news is the cells on the surface of the eyes regenerate and heal over time. When the damage is inside the eye, there will be long term changes.

“In particular the center part of your vision called the fovia and that’s part of the retina which is essentially an extension of the brain. The retina is the tissue inside the eye that’s responsible for converting the light energy to electrical impulses that your brain then interprets as vision.”

Because it’s part of the central nervous system, this tissue does not regenerate.

“So if you get damage to it to a certain extent to the point where some of those cells die, once those cells are dead, they’re dead. They’re not coming back ever, ever again.”

The light from the sun is so focused on that one spot that it essentially cooks the retina. If you have any kind of reduction in vision sharpness or an after-image, see a doctor.

Other problems from the eclipse include headaches, nausea, dizzy spells, and migraines. Those symptoms are brought on by flickering, or switching between lots of light and darkness such as going back and forth between your eclipse glasses and the naked eye.

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