Man Who Burned Retina During 1962 Eclipse Warns Others of Viewing Dangers

He said the vision problems never got any worse — but they also never got any better

An Oregon man who burned his retina while looking at a partial solar eclipse more than 50 years ago has some words of advice for people tempted to look at the sun without using protective glasses: Don’t do it.

Lou Tomososki was a high school teen in 1962 when his science teacher told the class about a solar eclipse that was going to take place that afternoon, NBC affiliate KGW reported.

Tomososki and a friend viewed the partial eclipse outside Marshall High School in Portland.

"The sun at that time, at 3:30 p.m., was in the one o’clock position," said Tomososki. "I said to Roger, 'If you stare at it long enough the brightness goes away.'"

By that night, both Tomososki and Roger were having vision problems. He said the vision problems never got any worse — but they also never got any better. A doctor later him that he had burned his retina during the eclipse.

Now, at 70, he says he and his friend both still have vision problems to this day.

"You know how the news people blur a license plate out," said Tomososki. "That’s what I have on the right eye, about the size of a pea, I can’t see around that."

Dr. Brandon Lujan of the Casey Eye Institute in Oregon tells KGW that looking at the solar eclipse for "even an instant" can damage the eyes.

As for Tomososki, he says he’s excited about the upcoming eclipse on Aug. 21, but this time, he’s not going to be looking at the sky.

"I’m going to go out and enjoy it. But I’ll stand and watch it get dark," he said.

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