How staring at 2017 eclipse for just 10 seconds left me with ‘irreversible eye damage’

A Brooklyn woman who squinted at the 2017 solar eclipse for 10 seconds without proper eye protection is now warning others of the “irreversible eye damage” she suffered — including a blind spot in the middle of her left iris.

Bridget Kyeremateng, 29, told The Post on Monday — hours before a solar eclipse was expected to be partially visible in the Big Apple — that she looked up at the spectacle without any eye protection after being unable to secure a pair of protective glasses, thinking “a couple of seconds wouldn’t do anything.

“I couldn’t focus on the sun or the exact curvature of the moon. I thought I would close one of my eyes to get a better focus. I could barely see anything, but I stared at the sun for a good 10 to 15 seconds before my eyes were starting to not feel good, so I walked inside,” recalled Kyeremateng, who works in marketing in the Big Apple.

She said she felt fine the rest of the day but woke up the next morning unable to read the words on her phone screen out of her left eye — the same eye she stared at the eclipse with.

Bridget Kyeremateng of Brooklyn shared her worrying story with The Post on Monday. TikTok/@iambridgeet

“I couldn’t see every other word because there was a blind spot right in the middle focus of my iris, so for every other word I was trying to read, it was pretty much invisible,” she said.

Kyeremateng described “freaking out” when she also could barely make out anything beyond “white dots just floating around” when looking out of her left eye.

“I thought maybe I just didn’t wake up, like, I wasn’t fully awake,” she said. “I walked around the house, and I would cover up my right eye to see if I was seeing this correctly. There were these very white focal dots that would distort images.”

Kyeremateng said she didn’t think looking at the 2017 eclipse for a few seconds would do anything. TikTok/@iambridgeet

Kyeremateng immediately visited the eye doctor, where she eventually learned that her retina was not damaged but that there was some distortion to her vision as a result of the sun damage.

“There is some distortion that has happened because I looked at the sun, which causes a bit of what [the eye doctor] calls ‘slow 20/20 vision,’ ” Kyeremateng explained.

Everything to know about the 2024 solar eclipse

  • The solar eclipse will take place Monday, April 8, blocking the sun for over 180 million people in its path.
  • The eclipse will expand from Mexico’s Pacific Coast across North America, hitting 15 US states and pulling itself all the way to the coast of Newfoundland, Canada.
  • New Yorkers will experience the solar eclipse just after 2 p.m. Monday.
  • A huge explosion on the sun, known as a coronal mass ejection, is anticipated, according to experts. This happens when massive particles from the sun are hurled out into space, explains Ryan French of the National Solar Observatory in Boulder, Colorado.
  • To avoid serious injury to the eyes, it is necessary to view the event through proper eyewear like eclipse glasses, or a handheld solar viewer, during the partial eclipse phase before and after totality.
  • The next total solar eclipse will take place on Aug. 12, 2026, and totality will be visible to those in Greenland, Iceland, Spain, Russia and a small slice of Portugal. 

“I can still see perfectly, but it takes me a while to read letters or words if my right eye is covered,” she said of the lasting damage, including the blind spot in the middle of her left iris.

She also has since experienced headaches and migraines on the left side of her head, she said. The Brooklynite said she also now has an astigmatism but isn’t sure if it is related to her viewing the eclipse.

The 29-year-old said the incident left her with headaches, migraines and slower vision. AP

“I think my right eye and my left eye kind of work in tandem, but it doesn’t affect me much anymore,” she said of the issue, noting that prescription sunglasses have been a major help.

“I know your eyesight does get worse with age. Last year when I went to get the eye check-up, the left side was not doing so well, like just getting worse ever so slightly each year. It’s only a matter of time, but I hope that with proper precaution and continuing to wear the sunglasses I can slow down the progression.”

Kyeremateng spoke to The Post while on the hunt for eclipse glasses for this time around, saying she didn’t want to “test her luck twice.”

Kyeremateng said she opened up about her experience in the hope that others would take necessary precautions to protect themselves. æâ¹Â³Ã¥Â£Â«Ã¦Åâ Ã¥Åâ –

While she says she used to be embarrassed to share her story, Kyeremateng noted that people have been extremely kind to her ever since she’s opened up about her experience — including in the comment section of a TikTok she shared Sunday warning others against taking in the amazing solar sight without proper eyewear.

“I think most people would go, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t do that.’ But you know, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and of course, you’re curious,” she said.

“I would advise to not look at it unless you have special sunglasses. You can look at it on your TV or on social media, but unless you have the glasses, having impacted eyes and irreversible eye damage after, it’s just not worth it.”