Immediately after the eclipse, many Californian GP offices were filled with people who had put sunscreen in their eyes instead of using protective glasses. Nobody has suffered any eye damage due to viewing the phenomenon without protection, but many others thought applying sunscreen on the eyeballs was a good idea.
People used sunscreen on their eyeballs instead of wearing protective glasses
Emergency rooms in California had to confront with people who found alternative solutions to eclipse-viewing glasses. None of these people had suffered damage on their vision or burns due to improper watching, but they were suffering from great pain after having put sunscreen on their eyeballs.
The warning labels on these products are pretty clear. People are advised to keep the cream away from their eyes. If it somehow ends up there, they should keep their eyes under running water while blinking, and rinse them thoroughly for 15 to 20 minutes. Then, they should ask for help from Poison Control.
Symptoms of eye damage appear 12 hours after exposure
NASA warned everybody to use special glasses to make sure their eyes won’t suffer any damage while viewing the eclipse. None of these people who wrongly used sunscreen were affected by the sun, but some others reported feeling pain and having their vision blurred. Most of the ailments were not permanent, but some people suffered retinal damage.
However, the retina is not the only eye component which can suffer during prolonged exposure to sunlight. People might experience pain and sensitivity to light from corneal damage as well. All these symptoms should become visible around 12 hours after the eyes are first exposed.
If you wore glasses but still feel your eyes hurt, the answer is simple. Looking for a longer period through a filter stimulates only one set color receptors. This will make you feel as if you had been exposed to an extremely bright flash.
Image Source: Wikipedia