Nation & World

Gazing at 1963 eclipse for just 20 seconds partially blinded Oregon man

An Oregon man is issuing a warning to all who plan to watch next week’s solar eclipse: Use protective eye equipment.

Louis Tomososki gazed up with the naked eye at a 1963 partial eclipse for just 20 seconds. He was a teen then. Now in his 70s, he’s still suffering the effects: He is partially blind in his right eye.

“I’m glad I didn’t go 40 seconds,” he told Fox 12 Oregon. “It would have been a lot worse.”

Louis Tomososki (middle) was left partially blind in one eye after gazing up at a solar eclipse in Oregon decades ago. Genevieve Reaume/Facebook

Warnings abound about the danger of gazing at the eclipse with the naked eye, even when all but a sliver of the sun is obscured by the moon.

Brandon Lujan, an assistant professor of Opthamology in Oregon, told Fox 12 that damage can become apparent immediately after looking at the sun or after a delay of a few hours to a few days.

“Unfortunately there’s not a treatment for it,” he said. “A lot of the damage can be permanent.”

Dr. Justin Marsh, a pediatric ophthalmologist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in KC, told The Star that the portion of the retina that is used for “central vision,” or focusing on something up close, is particularly vulnerable to damage in an eclipse.

The Star reported about the danger of fake eclipse glasses earlier this month. Legitimate glasses will have the logo of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and a label that indicates the glasses meet the ISO 12312-2 safety standard.

Even 99 years ago, ahead of a 1919 solar eclipse, experts warned of “eclipse blindness” in reports appearing in The Star.

Max Londberg: 816-234-4378, @MaxLondberg