A man left partially blind from viewing the 1962 solar eclipse is warning others that even a “quick look” at Monday’s celestial event without special glasses can cause permanent damage. “Oh, 20 seconds probably, that’s all it took,” Louis Tomososki told KPTV. “I’m glad I didn’t go 40 seconds, it would have been even worse.”
The 70-year-old was 16 when he and pal Roger Duvall looked up at the eclipse from a baseball field in Oregon. It was a total eclipse in Alaska and Canada but the path of totality didn’t reach the Beaver State.
Still, it was enough to cause permanent damage for both teens. Tomososki closed his left eye and kept the right one open to take a peek enough to burn a hole in his retina. “Every time we go to the eye doctor now for an exam, they dilate your eyes and look in and the first thing they say is, ‘You looked at a solar eclipse sometime in your life!’” Tomososki said.
Duvall, 70, meanwhile, suffered damage to his left eye. “We had looked down at the ground and you’re still looking at part of the eclipse like it’s imprinted in your eye,” he told the Washington Post. Tomososki said he’s now able to see someone’s face but not their nose, and said that when his left eye is closed, he can only see a “scrambled, whitish spot” through his right eye.
“Have you ever seen a news story where they don’t want the license plate seen at home? That’s the exact same color of everything, except mine’s the size of a pea,” he said. “And that was 20 seconds worth of burning. If we had looked longer — or the worst thing, if you switch eyes looking at the sun then you’re in real trouble.”
Tomososki added, “A quick look like we did back in 1963 … that quick look cost us. And it could have cost us a lot more.”
Click to WATCH: This Man Went Partially Blind After Staring At A Solar Eclipse