This week's eclipse was truly a one-of-a-kind event for Americans. But what was also unique was how some people chose to “prepare” for it.
According to a local ABC affiliate, several Californians had to be rushed to clinics and urgent care facilities on Monday after putting sunscreen in their eyes. And why did they do that, you might ask. Well, because instead of wearing the required protective glasses recommended by NASA, they were trying to shield their eyes from the sun by using sunscreen.
While none of her patients experienced damage from staring at the sun directly during the eclipse, Nurse Practitioner Trish Patterson said that some visited Prestige Urgent Care in Redding, California, suffering from pain. In the absence of glasses, they told attendants, they simply applied sunscreen to their eyeballs.
“One of my colleagues at moonlight here stated yesterday that they had patients presenting at their clinic that put sunscreen on their eyeball, and presented that they were having pain and they were referred to an ophthalmologist,” Patterson explained.
Despite warnings on sunscreen bottles that alert consumers they should never apply the product on their eyes, some eclipse viewers decided to overlook this important detail. As a result, many may have suffered eye inflammation.
To those who do get sunscreen in their eyes, it's recommended that they allow their eyes to be under running water for 15 to 20 minutes. They should blink throughout the entire procedure. If needed, they are then urged to contact Poison Control.
After the eclipse, Google noted that searches for “my eyes hurt” and “eyes hurt eclipse” increased dramatically. But it was only now reported that some people suffered mainly just for not reading the warnings on their sunscreen bottles, and not because they stared directly at the sun.
Quite the plot twist.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Adrees Latif