What Eye Freckles Can Tell You About Your Health 

Have you ever noticed little specks in the iris (the colored part) of your eyes? New research in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science is shedding light on these so-called eye freckles, and why some people have them and others don’t.

The specks, which occur in about 60% of the population, are clusters of abnormal melanocytes, or melanin-generating cells, that sit on the surface of the iris. Experts suspect that, like skin freckles, they may develop in response to sun exposure.

“In dermatology, the appearance of hyperpigmented spots—especially in chronic sun-damaged skin—is linked to a high lifetime accumulation of sunlight,” study author Christoph Schwab, MD, wrote in an email to Health. “We think that the pathway involved in iris freckles formation could be quite similar.”

To investigate this theory, Dr. Schwab, who is an ophthalmologist at the Medical University of Graz in Austria, teamed up with other ophthalmologists and dermatologists to examine the skin and eyes of more than 600 people. The researchers also collected information from the participants about their history of sun exposure, including the number of sunburns they’d had, and their use of sun protection.

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Seventy-six percent of the participants possessed at least one eye freckle; and those people had a few other things in common as well, the researchers discovered. They tended to be older than folks who had no eye freckles. And they were also more likely to report a high number of sunburns during their lifetime, and have sun-damaged skin and age spots (aka sun spots, or actinic lentigines).

The researchers wrote in their paper that these findings “seem to suggest that iris freckles indicate a high cumulative dose of lifetime sun exposure.”

They also noted that eye freckles were more common in the study participants than they are in the general population, possibly because the participants were recruited from public swimming pools: They may have led outdoorsy lifestyles, the authors speculated, with greater exposure to UV light than the average person.

What Dr. Schwab found most fascinating was the location of most eye freckles: the lower, outer section of the iris. One potential explanation is that the eyebrows and nose help shield the inner and upper quadrants of the iris—leaving the lower, outer sections more exposed to the sun’s rays, he says.

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While eye freckles themselves are considered benign, they may serve as a warning sign for sun-related health problems, the researchers concluded. “The presence of iris freckles also indicates sun damage to the skin, a risk factor for several different kinds of . Within this context, there is certainly a need for further studies investigating the association between skin cancer and iris freckles,” the wrote.

More research on iris specks might also help doctors understand the role that sunlight plays in conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. “The investigation of iris freckles in several eye diseases could lead to new knowledge regarding their pathogenesis,” says Dr. Schwab.

For now, Dr. Schwab urges caution: “If someone exhibits iris freckles, especially [at a] young age, I would reconsider current sun protection strategies.” To keep your skin safe and your eyes freckle-free, remember to apply plenty of SPF (yes, even when it’s cloudy), and wear shades or a hat to shield your peepers from the sun.

How to View the Solar Eclipse Without Damaging Your Eyes

It’s rare, spectacular, and almost here: on August 21, a total solar eclipse will be visible across the United States, in a 70-mile-wide swath that stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. For a stunning two minutes, the moon will completely cover the sun. Those in the “path of totality,” as this swath is called, will experience night-like darkness in the middle of the day.

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For everyone else, a partial eclipse will be visible throughout North America, during which daytime skies will darken somewhat. But whether you live in the path of totality or will only witness the partial eclipse, to view the event, you need to put on special eyewear and take other precautions—or you risk damaging your . (The exception is during those two minutes of total darkness in the path of totality, as the sun is completely covered by the moon and it can’t harm you.) 

Here’s what you need to know about protecting your peepers to witness this astronomical phenomenom.

Blinded by the light

You wouldn’t stare at the sun in the middle of a regular day for the same reason you shouldn’t glance at it during an eclipse. “It’s almost impossible to have a sense of how powerful the sun’s rays are when they are focused,” says Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD, professor of ophthalmology at University of Washington School of Medicine and past president and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

To get an idea, remember how as a kid, you may have used a magnifying glass on a sunny day to burn leaves? This is what will happen to your peepers: Your retina will literally be burned by the sun, a phenomenon called “solar retinopathy.”

Looking at a partial eclipse carries the same risk. “The concentration of photons is the same even when you are looking at a sliver of the sun. The only difference is you would have a smaller amount of damage because it would affect less of your retina,” explains Dr. Van Gelder.

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There is currently no known treatment for solar retinopathy, and the damage may be permanent. “If you lose retina tissue, it’s gone forever,” says Dr. Van Gelder. “The risk is that you will irreversibly damage your eye and end up with a blind spot.” The best treatment is prevention, but if you do experience vision problems after the eclipse, be sure to visit an ophthalmologist as soon as possible. 

The protective eyewear you need

Don’t even think about trying to view the eclipse through a pair of regular UV-blocking sunglasses or welders’ glasses; these offer zero defense, says Dr. Van Gelder. You will need approved “eclipse glasses,” which are not just souped-up sunglasses, he points out.

While they resemble old-fashioned, flimsy 3-D glasses, eclipse glasses are actually powerful light blockers. Try on a pair, and you’ll notice that they turn the room pitch dark, as though you are wearing a blindfold. If you wear them outside before the eclipse, the only thing you’ll be able to see is the sun.

Anyone can try to make a buck off the event by selling dark shades and calling them eclipse glasses. So it’s important to ensure that the glasses you buy are stamped “ISO 12312-2” and are also on this “approved vendor” list compiled by the American Astronomical Society.

If you accidentally purchase a counterfeit pair, you will know right away, says Michael Kirk, PhD, a research scientist in the heliophysics science division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center with Catholic University of America. “Your eyes are pretty smart; if you are looking at the eclipse and it’s uncomfortable or you are squinting, then you don’t have the proper eye wear, and you should look away,” he says.

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Special caution for kids

Planning to watch the eclipse with children under six? Kirk suggests having them view the eclipse another way, such as through a pinhole viewer or by watching the shadows on the ground. “There’s too much risk that the glasses might slip or fall off, or that kids might take them off,” he says, and end up burning their eyes.

If your kids are too young to enjoy the eclipse today, they’ll have another chance during the next total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024, which will arc from Texas to Maine. “We’ll have these two total eclipses back-to-back,” Kirk notes, followed by a long eclipse absence again. 

Amazon Recalled These Counterfeit Solar Eclipse Glasses—Here's Where to Get Safe Versions

To protect their eyes during the impending total solar eclipse on August 21, excited viewers went to Amazon to buy special eclipse glasses—only to learn that the specs they purchased for this astronomical event could cause serious eye damage. 

On Sunday, Amazon announced it was recalling some types of solar eclipse glasses sold on the site that did not meet industry safety standards. The online giant will refund the cost of the faulty specs to anyone who purchased them. “We recommend that you DO NOT use this product to view the sun or the eclipse,” stated the email sent to purchasers, reported CNET.

What’s wrong with the recalled glasses? To watch the solar eclipse, viewers need to shield their eyes with the right solar filter; without it, eyes can be burned and vision damaged. The glasses Amazon is recalling do not meet standards created by the International Organization for Standardization (or ISO) because they lack the right filter or other components.

While safe eclipse shades will be labeled with an “ISO-approved” sticker, buyers should still be wary. Many of the dupes have fake ISO certification stickers on them and can cause harm if viewers wear them while looking at the sun.

RELATED: How to View the Solar Eclipse Without Damaging Your Eyes

If you want to watch the eclipse, protect your peepers by purchasing the real deal. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) has put out a list of reputable sellers to ensure your glasses are up to snuff. You still can buy your shades on Amazon, but be sure to choose from a storefront that has the seal of approval. Try an AAS–approved store, like Avenues of the Sky. Other approved retailers on Amazon include Soluna or Mega-Fun Toys. View the full AAS list for more options.

There’s just a week left before this spectacular solar phenomenon, so if you don’t get the approved specs in time, play it safe by watching it indoors on TV or via a webcast, where your eyes are not in danger of racking up damage.

And no, your regular sunglasses are not a safe substitute for eclipse glasses. “Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun (fact: special-purpose solar filters are many thousands of times darker than ordinary sunglasses),” states the AAS website.

The Gross Mistake You're Making With Your Contact Lenses

If you’re a regular wearer of contact lenses, you’ve probably been warned about the health hazards of leaving them in too long and washing them improperly (or infrequently). But a new study from NYU Langone Medical Center’s a gross reminder about why it really is a bad idea to use unwashed fingers to pop them out or sleep in them  (as tempting as that may be when you’re sooo tired): It found people who wear contacts have different types of bacteria in their eyes than non-users—including one kind often connected with eye ulcers. (Ouch.)

For this small study, researchers swabbed the eyes of 20 subjects—9 contacts-wearers and 11 non-users—to examine the types of bacteria there. Those who wear contacts had a higher number of four species: Lactobacillus, Acinetobacter, Methylobacterium, and Pseudomonas, the last of which is commonly linked to corneal ulcers.

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“There has been an increase in the prevalence of corneal ulcers following the introduction of soft contact lenses in the 1970s,” study co-author Jack Dodick, MD, and professor of ophthalmology at NYU Langone noted in a press release. “Because the offending organisms seem to emanate from the skin, greater attention should be directed to eyelid and hand hygiene.”

So what can you do to keep your eyes infection-free? We asked Steven Shanbom, MD, an opthamologist in Berkeley, Michigan, for a quick primer:

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Clean your hands, then the lenses

Be sure to wash your hands with soap before you handle your contacts. Then rid the lenses of harmful dirt and bacteria by putting them in the (now spotless) palm of your hand, followed by some cleaning solution, then gently rubbing the solution into the lens. (Note: Even if your solution bottle says “No Rub” on it, you’ll get much more sanitary lens if you do.)

Consider different contacts

Dr. Shanbom sees daily disposable soft lenses as a good way to avoid these issues. “There’s only so much gunk and bacteria that can get into the eye when you’re using a new set of contacts every day,” he says. And if you’re less than diligent about cleaning your contacts, what could be easier than never having to do it ever again?

Give ’em a rest

The best way to avoid a bout of pink eye or something more severe, however, is wear glasses when you can to limit your eye’s exposure to lenses. Dr. Shanbom advises wearing your contacts only during the work day, and sticking to glasses at home and on the weekends, limiting your lenses to 12-14 hours a day at the most. (And never swim with your contacts in, since pool water’s teeming with infectious bacteria just waiting to glom onto them. Ew.) The upside: With the recent resurgence of glasses as a cool accessory, you’ll be right on trend.

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The Black Eyeliner Mistake Too Many Women Make

A little black liner along the lash line creates the illusion of larger eyes and fuller lashes. But do it wrong, or simply overdo it, and you’ll risk looking like Courtney Love circa the nineties.

Source: Giphy

Yikes—not exactly the wide-eyed look you’re going for.

“Eyeliner is meant to frame the eyes, giving them shape and making the whites appear bigger and brighter,” says Troy Surratt, celebrity makeup artist and founder of Surratt Beauty. But it can easily backfire, he warns: “When heavily ringed in black, eyes tend to recede and can appear tired.” For natural-looking definition, steer clear of hard edges and dramatic smudges.

Sharpen your skills with these smart techniques, courtesy of Surratt.

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Pick the right product

A creamy pencil that isn’t waterproof glides on smoothly and is easiest to blend. One that also has a built-in smudger, like the Surratt’s Smoky Eye Bataan ($35, sephora.com), will come in handy when blending.

Take a seat

Sit, place a mirror on a flat surface and look down when applying liner. This gives you a better angle to see the grove between your lashes and lash line, Surratt says, so you can draw on color with precision.

Connect the dots up top

The upper lash line doesn’t draw as much attention as it’s lower counterpart, but it’s equally important. To apply, create three short strokes as close to the lash line as possible—one on either corner and one in the middle—then connect them. Don’t worry about creating a super straight line, assures Surratt. His trick: Trace over it with black shadow until the line is smooth.

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Go easy on the bottom

“One of my biggest pet peeves is when the lower lash line is too dark or too hard,” confides Surratt. For soft definition, he says, apply a short stroke of color along the outer corner under your lower lashes. (Steer clear of the waterline; liner there can easily migrate, causing dreaded raccoon eyes.) Then use a smudging brush or Q-tip to blend liner in toward the center of the eye. “Color should diffuse into almost nothingness as you approach the tear duct,” Surratt explains.

Always finish with mascara

Liner looks best when paired with lush lashes. Clamp and squeeze a lash curler three times—at the lash line, in the middle and again at the ends—then seal the curl with a few coats of lengthening mascara.

The result: perfectly defined, every time.


Can I Wear My Colored Contacts Every Day?


Q: Are cosmetic contacts safe to wear every day?

Yes, as long as they aren’t a random pair picked off the rack at the Halloween store. Just like contact lenses that correct your vision, decorative contacts are overseen by the FDA and require a prescription. While there may be vendors out there selling colored, vampire, or cat-eye lenses without requiring an Rx, buying from these folks isn’t safe. Go through a reputable eye-care professional to get the lenses properly prescribed and fitted for your eyes.

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You should also follow the same safety and hygiene guidelines that you do with regular prescription contact lenses. Make sure you clean and disinfect them according to the instructions and take them out after the recommended length of time. If redness or pain occurs or you notice any discharge, remove them and call your eye doctor right away.

RELATED: Colored Contacts Can Be Totally Safe, As Long As You Take These 3 Steps

Health’s medical editor, Roshini Rajapaksa, MD, is assistant professor of medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.


7 Eye Symptoms and What They Could Mean

Whether you look like you pulled the world’s longest all-nighter or feel so itchy you want to claw your eyeballs out, you shouldn’t just slap on a pair of sunglasses and ignore it. Treating properly can help you avoid complications, says Stephanie J. Marioneaux, MD, spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology with a clinical practice in Chesapeake, Va. “Especially if you have pain, a change in vision, discharge, light sensitivity or any symptoms that persist, it could be a sign of a serious problem, and you should see an ophthalmologist,” she says. Decode your eye problem with this guide.

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Your symptoms:Red eyesBoth eyes are itchy and watery

It’s probably , aka allergic conjunctivitis—a reaction to pollen, pet dander, or something else in your environment. Get away from the trigger if possible, whether it’s a fluffy cat, a dusty attic or a park full of ragweed. Then take an oral antihistamine to halt the immune system reaction, says Tim Mainardi, MD, an allergist with New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. Over-the-counter allergy drops may calm inflammation and soothe itchiness directly. You can also ask your eye doc about prescription drops. Skip anti-redness drops; they don’t treat the root cause and can lead to rebound redness. If allergies are a seasonal nuisance for you or create major discomfort, see an allergist for additional treatment.

Your symptoms:Red eyesDischarge that's thick and crusty (along with itching)

You might have conjunctivitis—inflammation from an infection of the outer layer of your eye. Your primary care doc can do a culture to see if it’s viral or bacterial. The viral variety is “like a common cold in the eye” and is extremely contagious, says Dr. Marioneaux. Individual vials of artificial tears and cold packs will help relieve irritation and swelling. A mild case of bacterial conjunctivitis may go away on its own, but your doctor may also prescribe antibiotic eye drops to speed things up. Dial an ophthalmologist if fluids are draining from your eye or if you have moderate to severe pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision or intense redness.

RELATED: 3 Serious Eye Symptoms You Need to Know About

Your symptoms:A painful lump at the edge of one eye or under your eyelid

If it’s at the edge of your lid, that pimple-like bump might be a sty. Sties are caused by an infected eyelash follicle; they can get tender and swollen and may ooze pus. Use a warm washcloth to encourage drainage; if it’s really bothersome or painful, or if it doesn’t improve with home treatment, see your eye doctor, who can prescribe an antibiotic ointment. A chalazion results from a clogged oil gland under the eyelid, farther from the lashes. “You can feel the bump sticking out through the lid,” says Dr. Marioneaux. Warm compresses are also the first line of treatment here. If a sty or chalazion hardens and persists, an ophthalmologist can drain it or inject it with a steroid to bring down swelling.

Your symptoms:Red eyesA gritty, sandy feeling

It could be dry eye, a condition in which the eyes aren’t getting enough moisture because you’re not making enough tears, your tears aren’t watery enough and/or they’re evaporating too quickly, which can happen when oil-producing glands in your eyelids are inflamed. Staring at screens without blinking regularly is a culprit. “If you’re not blinking every four seconds, oil doesn’t get released and tears evaporate, leaving the eye dry and irritated,” says Dr. Marioneaux. “If your eyes water out of nowhere, that’s emergency tears coming to the rescue.” Dry eye can also be a side effect of some medications or the result of hormonal fluctuations or long-term use of contact lenses. Steer clear of air-conditioning or forced-air heat, which may hasten tear evaporation; take breaks from intense staring, and dampen eyes with artificial tears. You can also try adding more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet (good sources are fatty fish, like salmon) and using a humidifier to moisten the air. More severe cases may require a prescription ointment, Rx eye drops or plugs placed in the eye’s drainage ducts to hold tears in your eyes longer. Don’t ignore dry eye, because it could lead to scarring of the cornea and vision loss.

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Your symptoms:Red eyesA gritty, sandy feelingEye is red and/or irritated along the lash line specifically

It might be blepharitis, a chronic condition in which oil glands along the lash line become clogged. Treat it daily for best results. “Warm compresses increase blood flow and loosen the oil to help unclog the glands,” says Payal Patel, MD, a clinical instructor in the department of ophthalmology at NYU Langone Medical Center, who recommends applying a warm washcloth to the eyelid for one to two minutes three or four times a day. You can also clean the eyelids by gently massaging the lash line with tear-free shampoo on a clean fingertip, washcloth or Q-tip. Use artificial tears to ease irritation or burning during the day.

Your symptoms:Red eyesPersistent blurred vision or a sharp pain after a blow to the eye or getting a foreign object stuck in your eye

You could have a scratched cornea (the layer covering the front of your eye). See your eye doctor ASAP or go to an ER or urgent care center anytime you suspect a corneal abrasion.

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Your symptoms:Red eyesThey're not itchy/watery, you don't have any discharge or a gritty feeling, there's no painful lump at the edge of one eye and you do not have persistent blurred vision or a sharp pain after a blow to the eye

Any eye symptoms that don’t clear up warrant a call to your ophthalmologist.

This Man's Photos Capture How Lazy Eye Surgery Changed His Life

“Life changing surgery comes in all shapes and sizes,” wrote Ryan Williams in a recent post on Reddit about the procedure he had to correct his lazy eye. “[Twenty-four] years of insecurity and I can finally start living my life properly.” 

Williams shared before-and-after pictures of his face on March 21, one week after his eye muscle surgery; and then at the request of other Reddit users, he posted a third photo over the weekend, to show the progress of his recovery since the operation. 


Williams, 25, says his left eye turned inward when he was one year old. He told Health in an email that all his life, he hated meeting new people, “in case they looked at the wrong eye and asked the dreaded ‘are you talking to me,’ which is only slightly better than photographers telling you again and again to look at the camera.”

Having a lazy or crossed eye is a condition technically known as strabismus—and it can occur in different forms, explains Dallas-based optometrist Janelle Routhier, OD. In a common type called accommodative esotropia, one eye has to focus especially hard to see clearly, and turns inward as a result. In another form, called intermittent exotropia, both eyes are unable to look at the same place at the same time, and the weaker eye turns outward. 

There are various treatments for strabismus, including specialized glasses and vision therapy, in which a doctor prescribes exercises to improve eye coordination and focusing. The activities might involve wearing an eye patch, says Dr. Routhier, who is the senior director of customer development at Essilor: “Eye patches that cover the stronger eye force the weaker one to see better.” 

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But if those treatments don’t help, correction surgery may be an option: A highly delicate operation, it involves adjusting the muscles around the eye, Dr. Routhier explains.

Williams says his procedure took less than an hour. He was sent home with antibiotic and steroid eye drops to reduce swelling and redness. “[I]t’s been 3 weeks since my op and I can’t help but smile every time I look in the mirror,” Williams says. “I’m no longer scared to approach strangers and no longer have the constant fear in the back of my head when talking to people that they are going to mention it.”

Williams has a message for families affected by strabismus: “If any parents were considering the surgery for their child but then decide to leave it for their child to decide when they are older, I would strongly suggest to do it,” he says. “It will change your child’s life.”

The surgery has done that for Williams: “I have always suffered from low confidence because of my eye and the difference I feel already now that it is fixed is amazing.”

What Happens to Your Eyes If You Look Directly at the Sun During a Solar Eclipse?

This article originally appeared on Time.com. 

For the first time in U.S. history, a solar eclipse will travel exclusively across America, enabling millions of people to view the moon block out the sun on Aug. 21. But those who watch this rare celestial event need to take precautions, because staring right at the sun can quickly harm your eyes.

“Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality,” NASA explains on its website. “The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses.”’

The path of totality, which is about 70 miles wide, is viewable from parts of 14 states, as shown on this solar eclipse map, and only lasts a maximum of two minutes and 40 seconds, according to NASA. Before and after the total solar eclipse, those in its path will see a partial eclipse, in which the moon only partly blocks the sun. The rest of the country will also see a partial eclipse — so essentially, everyone needs to prepare themselves to view the eclipse safely.

Watch Live as the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse Crosses the U.S.

Here’s what you need to know about why a solar eclipse hurts your eyes and how to protect your eyes effectively:

Why Does a Solar Eclipse Damage My Eyes?

According to experts, viewing the sun with your naked eye during the eclipse can burn your retina, damaging the images your brain can view. This phenomenon, known as “eclipse blindness,” can cause temporary or permanent vision impairment, and in worst-case scenarios can lead to legal blindness, which entails significant loss of vision.

ECLIPSECoffee Chain in Eclipse’s Path Recalls Safety Glasses After Giving Them Out for Free

“If people look without the proper protection [at the sun], they run the risk of injuring their eyes. And if they get an injury, depending on how often and how long they look at the sun without the protection, they do have a substantial risk of developing a permanent loss of vision,” said Dr. B. Ralph Chou, p resident of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and a former optometry professor. It is not possible to go completely blind from looking at the eclipse, Chou said, because the injury is limited to the central part of your visual field.

There are no immediate symptoms or pain associated with the damage — the retina doesn’t have any pain receptors — so its hard to know at the time if you’ve actually been afflicted with eclipse blindness. If you look at the sun unfiltered, you may immediately notice a dazzle effect, or a glare the way you would from any bright object, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your retina is damaged. According to Chou, symptoms generally begin occurring 12 hours after viewing the eclipse, when people wake up in the morning and notice their vision has been altered.

“They can’t see faces in the mirror, they can’t read the newspaper or the smartphone display, they’re having trouble looking at road signs, and basically they’ve got this center spot in their vision that is intensely blurred,” Chou said.

There are no remedies to effectively mitigate the injury, said Chou, aside from waiting and seeing if the patient regains vision. This does happen, but not until at least three months after the injury.

Has This Happened Before?

Yes. People have hurt their eyes by watching the sun during a solar eclipse unfiltered. However, it is a relatively rare occurrence. Although Chou said there is no definitive data on the number of people afflicted with eclipse blindness, he noted that after a solar eclipse crossed Britain in 1999, ophthalmologists reported 70 instances of eye injuries, and the majority of those people had viewed the eclipse unfiltered. In Canada, 20 cases were reported following the total solar eclipse of 1979. O f the cases reported over the years, Chou said half the people afflicted completely recovered their vision over the course of the following year.

“It’s a fact that for individual practitioners, they are not seeing that many [cases] overall,” Chou said. “It’s only if you start looking at large populations in the hundreds of millions that you start adding up into significant numbers.”

What Can I Do to Protect My Eyes?

To ensure your experience is injury-free, listen to NASA’s advisory and buy eclipse glasses, which block approximately 99.99% of light rays. But also make sure follow NASA’s instructions in using these glasses. When the glasses are on, NASA says, it is imperative that you don’t look at the sun through an unfiltered camera lens, telescope, or binoculars.

Additionally, make sure that the brand of glasses you buy has been verified to meet the international safety standard, something Chou emphasized as critical to injury prevention. The American Astronomical Society has released a list of manufacturers selling these glasses that meet this standard. NASA also suggests you inspect your filter before putting it on, and discard it if it has any scratches or damages.

“If you don’t try to sneak a peek without the filter,” says Chou, “Then you should not run any risk of being hurt.”

Trump Stares Directly into Sun Without Glasses as He and First Lady Melania Watch Solar Eclipse from the White House

This article originally appeared on People.com. 

President Donald Trump made the same mistake during the total solar eclipse that scientists had been warning against for weeks: He looked directly into the sun without protective glasses.

As Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their son Barron, 11, emerged on the Truman Balcony of the White House on Monday, the president put on “eclipse glasses”, then took them off and, for a brief moment, stared upwards at the sun.

“As he did this, someone in a crowd of aides below shouted ‘Don’t look,’ ” according to the Wall Street Journal‘s Ted Mann, who posted a photo from the moment on Twitter.

Earlier on Monday, First Daughter and presidential advisor Ivanka Trump reminded her followers on Instagram to wear protective glasses for the eclipse. She shared a Boomerang video of herself wearing special-filter glasses in anticipation of the event.

“Excited for #Eclipse2017? Remember to wear your glasses #NASA #STEM,” she wrote.

Melania also tweeted about the eclipse, writing “Exciting to watch the total eclipse with @potus today! #Eclipse2017.”

The moon blocked out the sun on Monday in the first total solar eclipse to pass over the mainland United States in 38 years. Solar glasses are a must for anyone who wants to view the eclipse.

“Looking directly at the sun is unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (“totality”), when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face, which will happen only within the narrow path of totality,” NASA explained on its website. “The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as ‘eclipse glasses.’ ”

Twitter had a field day over Trump’s moment in the sun, which some said perfectly summed up his presidency.

Trump wasn’t the only one who looked at the sun sans glasses. A Twitter video of Odell Beckham Jr. showed the NFL star squinting into the sun during the eclipse.

Trump’s viewing of the solar eclipse comes after a week plagued by controversy.

Trump has faced widespread criticism for refusing to unequivocally lay blame for Aug. 12’s deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, with the white supremacists who marched through that college town wielding torches and weapons while shouting racist taunts at a rally. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed and at least 19 others were injured when a driver rammed his car into a group of counter-protesters, according to The New York Times. Authorities said two state troopers were also killed in a helicopter crash as they were responding to the rally.

Controversy continued to surround the White House on Friday, when Trump fired his chief strategist Steve Bannon amid growing pressure to axe the former Breitbart News chairman because of his ties with the white nationalist movement.