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B.C. optometrists receiving calls of eclipse-related eye pain

<p>Long time photographer and keen amateur astronomer A.P. Hovasse helped local residents get a clear – and safe – view of the solar eclipse Monday morning in White Rock. (A.P. Hovasse/Submitted)</p> -

Long time photographer and keen amateur astronomer A.P. Hovasse helped local residents get a clear – and safe – view of the solar eclipse Monday morning in White Rock. (A.P. Hovasse/Submitted)

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Did you try to get a glimpse of the solar eclipse Monday without the recommended glasses?

Optometrists are receiving calls from concerned British Columbians following the rare celestial event, reporting eye pain and headaches.

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NASA and other agencies released warnings that watching the eclipse without solar lense protection could lead to eye damage including blindeness.

Dr. Gary Matter said a handful of patients have called Maple Ridge Eye Care in the past day.

Other clinics have said they haven't received any calls – yet. That's because symptoms of eye injuries can take 12 to 48 hours to manifest, Matter said.

"Symptoms can be quite varied," he added. They can range from slightly blurry vision to more severe concerns of dark or light spots in one's central vision.

Two major injuries can occur from sun exposure: solar retinopathy and photokeratitis.

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Solar retinopathy refers to permanent retina damage caused by prolonged exposure to the sun or other bright lights.

Also known as welders flash or welders burn, photokeratitis is acute and treatable.

According to Google, after the eclipse was over, searches for "eyes hurt" skyrocketed, as well as "eyes hurt eclipse," "eclipse hurt your eyes" and "does eclipse hurt your eyes."

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If anyone is experiencing uncomfortability or pain that they believe is due to viewing the eclipse, they are urged to see an eye doctor.

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