Some UAE residents felt dizzy after solar eclipse; doctors explain why

Observing the sun during an eclipse without eye protection could result in vision damage or retinal burns, health experts say

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Reuters
Reuters

Published: Wed 26 Oct 2022, 3:42 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Oct 2022, 4:33 PM

Muhammad Salim wanted to see the partial solar eclipse on Tuesday, so he peeped out of his office's window in Al Quoz, Dubai. Suddenly, his vision went blurry and he started feeling dizzy.

“I wanted to know what a solar eclipse looks like. I did not see it, but when I peeped out of the window, I had blurred vision for nearly 25 minutes along with fatigue,” said Salim.


Another resident, Muhammed Athar, also experienced similar symptoms while driving on Al Khail Road.

“My colleagues told me to wait for a while and leave the office after the solar eclipse. But I had to take my family to a gathering. When I was driving on Al Khail, I lost my vision had a loss of vision for nearly 20 seconds. But I don’t remember seeing the sun directly,” said Athar.


Worried about his safety on the road, he decided to pull over and waited for the dizziness to subside. “I parked my car and took some rest for a while. After washing my face and drinking juice, I felt better and drove back,” added Athar.

Is there such a thing as 'eclipse sickness'?

Photo by Shihab
Photo by Shihab

While such symptoms are common during or after an eclipse, doctors say there is no precise scientific explanation behind them.

“Many people across the world complain of eclipse sickness. Generally, these people experience fatigue, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, and so on,” said Dr Jimmy Joseph, internal medicine specialist and diabetologist at Aster Clinic, International City.

“However, we cannot state a medical reason for these signs and symptoms,” he added.

During an eclipse, a person may be tempted to stare at the sun directly, and this could be dangerous, according to medics.

“This may result in serious outcomes and permanent eye damage, and this is relevant to all types of solar eclipses,” said Dr Kiran Kumar, specialist and head of the internal medicine department at Thumbay University Hospital.

“Children are especially at risk because more light reaches their retina. Symptoms of injury may occur many hours after the exposure; therefore, those who may have viewed the eclipse directly are recommended to consult their doctors for a detailed check of the retina,” Dr Kumar added.

Looking at a solar eclipse with the naked eye can damage one's vision, particularly his or her retina.

“The condition called solar retinopathy is caused by the solar radiation emitted during the phenomenon. It can even result in permanent loss of vision, especially among children,” said Dr Joseph.

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