Doctors expecting more patients with eye damage from solar eclipse

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Staring at the sun can damage your eyes. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News) Staring at the sun can damage your eyes. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

No matter where you were today, everybody pretty much stopped to look at the eclipse. But hopefully you had the right glasses to do it.

Doctors tell us they're getting ready for an increase in calls from people who hurt their eyes looking at the sun. 

[RELATED: Doctors stress proper eye protection for viewing solar eclipse]

It's called solar retinopathy, and if you didn't use the right kind of safety glasses to watch Monday's eclipse you might now have this type of vision loss.

"It might even be something that you didn't notice much throughout the day and then you woke up a day or two later and suddenly you don't see things as good as you used to be able to see," Dr. Jamie Kuhn, an optometrist and professor with Midwestern University, explains. 

The symptoms might be more mild, with people experiencing decreased eyesight or some blurriness. 

Or you might have a reduction in your color vision, and things may not seem as vibrant. Some people lose a chunk of their field of vision.

In extreme cases you go blind. All of these symptoms are permanent.

Immediately after the eclipse, Google saw a huge increase in the number of times people searched the words "my eyes hurt."

"It's very similar to what your vision might be like immediately following a bright flash bulb when someone's taking your photo," said Kuhn. 

But most often, Dr. Kuhn says it will take a few days for the damage to become apparent. 

"So we anticipate seeing quite a bit of solar damage from patients who thought they could take a quick sneak peek."

Kuhn says the best thing you can do if you think you've had damage is to set up an appointment with your eye doctor for an exam.

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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