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He viewed the eclipse with recalled glasses. Now he’s getting his eyes checked

Eclipse viewers use glasses, homemade gadgets

People gather around the Capitol to experience a partial solar eclipse with solar glasses and homemade gadgets on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Sacramento.
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People gather around the Capitol to experience a partial solar eclipse with solar glasses and homemade gadgets on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, in Sacramento.

Eye doctors in Fresno saw worried eclipse-watchers Monday.

About a half-dozen patients called EYE-Q Vision Care with eyesight concerns after watching the eclipse.

Jose Maldonado, 18, of Fresno, came to the EYE-Q Clovis office to have his vision checked. Maldonado had prepared for the eclipse. He got a pair of eclipse glasses on Sunday at Dutch Bros. He wore the glasses to view the eclipse but found out later, from his girlfriend, that the coffee company had issued a recall.

“It didn’t feel right,” Maldonado said of his vision. “Nothing was looking right. It was hazy.”

An examination Monday afternoon on his eyes made Maldonado, a biology student at Fresno State, feel better. But he needs to return for a follow-up exam in two weeks.

On Sunday, Dutch Bros. alerted customers via its website and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts it was recalling eclipse glasses handed out at its stores. The coffee drive-thru chain said the glasses had certification of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) compliance from the manufacturer, but “further investigation has led us to question this certification.”

Staring directly at an eclipse without proper eye protection can damage the eyes by burning the rods and cones in the retina — the parts of the eye needed to be able to read and drive.

There is no pain from the exposure and it can take up to a couple of weeks or months for effects of the damage to the eyes to be known, said Dr. Samuel Hinton, an ophthalmologist at EYE-Q.

For now, Maldonado said he was told “everything was fine, and I’m relieved.”

Hinton said he expects to see patients in the coming weeks who did not wear protective glasses.

But as for news coverage of President Donald Trump glancing bare-eyed at the eclipse, Hinton said: “I’m not concerned. Based on the footage that I saw, he will not have any permanent damage.”

Barbara Anderson: 559-441-6310, @beehealthwriter

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