Non-regulated eclipse glasses gave woman eye damage

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Hours after the eclipse, one woman ended up in the emergency room with a crescent shape blocking the center of her vision. (KTRK)

Nia Payne, 26, was hoping to view the solar eclipse in New York. What she didn't expect was to end up in the emergency room with a crescent shape blocking the center of her vision.

The eye damage she sustained while viewing the total solar eclipse in August is detailed in a case report published Thursday in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology.

You may think after looking at an eclipse without protection, you will either go blind or suffer no consequences to your eyesight. In reality, the damage can be subtle.

The sun releases free radicals in the retina causing damage that might not show up for many hours later.

Payne knew not to look at the sun during the eclipse last week unless she used protective glasses. She didn't have any, but a stranger on the street offered to let her use hers. Doctors believe the glasses must have not met international standards.

She looked for no more than 30 seconds, but that was all it took. The rest of the day, she was reading and writing normally until about 10 p.m. That's when the disturbance to her vision appeared.

A technology called adaptive optics allowed doctors to view the damage on a cellular level and see the microscopic structures in her eyes. Previously, this kind of detail could be seen only with glass slides and a microscope.

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