Negative Effects Of Solar Eclipses

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With the impending solar eclipse set to darken the skies briefly on Monday afternoon, physicians across the country are preparing to treat cases of optical damage caused by glaring at the “dark” sun. Unfortunately, many people believe that because the sun is blocked, it blocks the harmful ultraviolet rays from reaching one’s eyes, but that is not the case. Assistant professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Tamara S. Oechslin, explains “it is never safe to stare directly into the sun, and that includes during the eclipse” (Janarthanan). But, these eclipses have been occurring for thousands of years. In fact, the ancient Chinese believed that solar eclipses were dragons devouring the sun (NASA). Obviously, the general population has come to a much stronger understanding of what a solar eclipse entails, but they do not necessarily follow guidance related to viewing the eclipse. In 1999, a solar eclipse occurred and “several thousand people rang helplines or attended special eclipse clinics” (Dobson). However, “the number of cases of solar retinopathy than was widely feared” (Dobson). Solar retinopathy is the damage caused by someone looking at the sun with improper or no eye protection. The retina, the home of light-sensing cells, is then damaged by the harmful rays of the sun. Treatment to try and heal the effects of solar retinopathy has proven ineffective (Dobson). Eyes are similar to the brain in terms of traumatic injury. Once a vital organ has been harmed, it
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