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Steele & Drex: Vancouver optometrist getting calls following solar eclipse

Click to play video: 'Viewing the solar eclipse in B.C.' Viewing the solar eclipse in B.C.
WATCH: An up-close look at how people around the province took in the solar eclipse – Aug 21, 2017

A Vancouver optometrist says she’s already received four calls with people complaining of eye pain following Monday’s solar eclipse.

“So far today, I’ve seen one patient and I’ve got three patients booked this afternoon,” Dr. Ashala Mah said.

“All of the patients that are booked were actually using the selfie method of looking at the eclipse. They were getting eye pain from that.  I guess there was a method going around on Facebook that was to look at the eclipse over your shoulder while using the selfie camera of your phone. But you’re still getting a lot of indirect sunlight and a lot of reflection so it’s still quite bright.”

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One patient she saw was complaining of dry eyes, a typical reaction from sun damage.

“The one patient I saw, her eyes were very dry and she was concerned because she was seeing black spots. The thing with solar retinopathy is that there is no pain in the back of your eyes, so you don’t know if you’re causing any harm until it’s too late. It might take a couple hours to a couple days for the effects to actually set in.

While sufferers of solar retinopathy don’t feel any pain, typical symptoms include decreased vision or blind spots. Mah says there is no treatment for solar retinopathy because unlike skin cells following a sun burn, the retina can’t regenerate cells.

Dr. Mah recommends anyone who thinks they may have done damage to their eyes during the eclipse, see an optometrist as soon as possible.

Globalnews.ca coverage of the solar eclipse

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