Georgia man knows from experience eye damage you can get from an eclipse

Friday, August 18, 2017 11:59AM
Fred Karst is warning everyone who wants to watch the eclipse not to look at the sun without protection. He did and he got ''eclipse burns.''


When Americans spill outside on Monday to watch the eclipse, one Georgia engineer is wishing for a cloudy day. He hopes to decrease the chances someone else will damage their eyes the way he did.

"Even though they had said you could damage your eyes, like I said, we looked at it," Fred Karst told WTOC.

Karst was 15 when he watched a partial eclipse without the proper eyewear in 1972.

"We didn't feel any immediate pain. It really wasn't hurting like it normally does for the sun. It was neat to look at, [but] long-range effects," he said.

Young people especially need to be reminded of the dangers because they aren't always obvious, optometrist Dr. Jim Beisel told WTOC.

"It tricks you into the illusion that the lowered light levels are tolerable when you're staring at the sun with that incremental sliver, [but it] is definitely bright enough to cause damage."

Karst said he stared at it, alternating eyes, for about a minute, which gave him something called "eclipse burns."

"It's like in flash photography, you see that little swirly thing after the flash. I see it all the time," he said.

While Karst said it was "not debilitating," it did affect career opportunities for the young space enthusiast.

"I tell people the reason I'm an engineer is because I couldn't be a pilot or an astronaut because I don't have correctable vision," he said.

Karst said that if you want to look at the eclipse, he recommends using a pinhole projector, wearing protective glasses, or just watching on TV.

Read more about this story from WTOC.
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