Podcast #253: Total Eclipse of the Eye – Solar Retinopathy

Author: Nick Hatch, M.D.

Educational Pearls

  • Photic or solar retinitis occurs when you stare at the sun. The refractive power of the lens of the eye concentrates the light of the sun on the retina, stimulating the production of free radicals, damaging photoreceptors.
  • Solar retinitis may present hours-days after light exposure.
  • Patients will present with patchy loss of vision without pain, since the retina has no pain receptors.
  • In one study during an eclipse in the UK, of those who initially presented with vision loss due to solar retinitis, 92% recovered full vision.

References: Dobson R. UK hospitals assess eye damage after solar eclipse. BMJ?: British Medical Journal. 1999;319(7208):469.

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