‘Living examples’ share 1962 eclipse eye damage

A total solar eclipse is seen in Belitung, Indonesia, Wednesday, March 9, 2016. A total solar eclipse was witnessed along a narrow path that stretched across Indonesia while in other parts of Asia a partial eclipse was visible. (AP Photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two Portland men say they suffer permanent eye damage from improperly viewing the 1962 partial solar eclipse.

Lou Tomososki and Roger Duvall have been friends for 60 years. In 1962 they got together to view the partial solar eclipse in the Marshall High School Baseball Field.

“We took it all in, not realizing that there were some hazards involved,” Duvall says.

They both started to notice blurred vision in one eye shortly after. “In the course of reading, that eye would blank out part of the wordage,” Duvall says.

Doctors told the friends that they permanently damaged their vision.

“He said you’ve got permanent eye damage from that eclipse. I said well what can you do? and he said, “nothing,”” Tomososki says.

Dr. Russell Van Gelder, an ophthalmologist at the University of Washington, explains the condition.

“We call it solar retinopathy and it’s really very close to burning a hole in the retina,” he says. “It’s so dangerous for people to look at the sun even for brief periods of time because you can do permanent damage to the retina,” Van Gelder says.

Doctors and officials want to remind eclipse viewers of the importance of wearing proper eye glasses. Tomososki and Duvall do too.

“Enjoy what’s going on, but just be careful, because you don’t want to go the rest of your life with an eye problem,” Duvall says.

 

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