2017 Eclipse | The reality of solar retinopathy: Kentucky woman warns of dangers

08/18/2017 05:11 PM

For months, experts have been warning people about the dangers associated with Monday’s total solar eclipse. Those who look directly at the sun as the eclipse is happening risk permanent eye damage, a condition known as solar retinopathy.

Frankfort resident Bettina Riley knows first-hand what it’s like to live with the condition. Riley suffered permanent vision loss after she was forced to look into the sun while driving home from work one day.

“I’m going up a tall, steep slope, driving upgrade and the sun is up and when you hit the top of the hill, that’s when the sun hits you full force,” said Riley. “That angle got me at that one, precise moment in time, sort of like the eclipse, where you have to be in the right place at the right time in the right moment to see this.”

Solar retinopathy occurs when the retina at the back of the eyeball is burned. For Riley, it means she has a constant, white patch in her sight

“Every time I blink, there’s a white light. There’s no focusing — just, nothing there.”

Riley hopes that her story will resonate with others, further emphasizing the importance of using special-purpose solar filters or hand-held solar viewers on Monday.

Click here to learn what you’ll see where you live.

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