Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     

Australia's Leading Ophthalmic Magazine Since 1975

     Free Sign Up     
News

Military tech used to identify eclipse-shaped eye damage

13/12/2017By Matthew Woodley
Share:
A woman who viewed the US solar eclipse earlier this year without protective glasses has been left with permanent crescent-shaped damage over one of her retinas that matches exactly the shape of the sun at the time of the eclipse.

The case, published last week in JAMA Ophthalmology, was the first of its kind to be assessed with modern imaging tools due to the relative rarity of solar eclipses. According to the report, the woman developed blurred and distorted vision in the hours after the eclipse, along impaired colour vision and a black spot in the central part of her vision in her left eye.



“We have never seen the cellular damage from an eclipse because this event rarely happens and we haven’t had this type of advanced technology to examine solar retinopathy until recently.”
Avnish Deobhakta, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary lead investigator

Following a series of tests, en face OCT images and adaptive optics of the left eye corresponded to the crescent-shaped scotoma drawn earlier by the patient on an Amsler grid. Study co-author Dr Chris Wu said it was exciting to see the correlation between the symptoms and the photoreceptor injury on a cellular level.

“Hopefully this research allows us to potentially develop future therapies for solar retinopathy and other forms of photic injury to the retina,” he said adding, “This study can prepare doctors and patients for the next eclipse in 2024 and make them more informed of the risks of directly viewing the sun without protective eyewear.”

According to CNN, the adaptive optics used by the doctors were originally developed by the military to focus laser beams, before being used with telescopes to reduce the twinkle of stars to they could be viewed more clearly. In ophthalmology, they can be used to look at individual cells in the photoreceptor layer of the retina, where the uptake of light occurs before it is converted and transmitted to the brain.

The adaptive optics image showing the crescent-shaped eye damage
The adaptive optics image showing the crescent-shaped eye damage

“We have never seen the cellular damage from an eclipse because this event rarely happens and we haven’t had this type of advanced technology to examine solar retinopathy until recently,” lead investigator Assistant Professor Avnish Deobhakta said.

“New York Eye and Ear Infirmary is one of the few sites in North America with access to this technology, and using this to get an exact look at this retinal damage on such a precise level will help clinicians better understand the condition.”

The patient, who was diagnosed with solar retinopathy and photochemical burns in her eyes, was one of 22 patients who presented at the infirmary with eclipse related eye damage. She is expected to return for a follow up observation in January, but so far her vision has not improved.

large leaderboard
advertisement

More information: Full report.

Image courtesy: Flickr | Steve Byrne

large leaderboard
advertisement





rectangle
advertisement
Editor's Suggestion
Hot Stories

rectangle
advertisement


OR
 

Subscribe for Insight in your Inbox

Get Insight with the latest in industry news, trends, new products, services and equipment!