Friday, May 31, 2024

The Amazing Science Trump Ignored When He Stared Directly at a Solar Eclipse – Mother Jones

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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I am still They are suffering from brain melting caused by the Trump era. But even in the face of the out-of-control stupid spigot that has made me sick, one particularly stupid moment stands out: former President Donald Trump's sneak peek at a solar eclipse.

As I wrote at the time, it was a deeply Trumpian incident, a real challenge to science and common sense from the highest place in government, the White House. But looking back at this moment seven years later, a strange and disturbing connection emerges, and I can't help but relate. There was something understandable in the stupid curiosity with which he ignored the rules for a fleeting second. Suspense! (But I spoke as someone who touched a painting during a school trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.)

So I spoke to you on the eve of another total eclipse Dr. Viola Kanevskya famous New York-based ophthalmologist, to make sure I got the facts firsthand about what the eyes could endure, if my hurt led me to suffer an entirely different kind of dissolution.

Here's what it told me about the potential for eye damage — and Trump's infamous 2017 turn toward the sun.

What safety measure do you want people to be aware of during Monday's solar eclipse?

Ideally, you have a pair of Solar eclipse glasses. You can also go online and learn how to create a file Pinhole camera So you can watch the eclipse indirectly. But if you want to watch the eclipse directly, you really need a pair of certified glasses.

My main advice is for people not to look at it directly, especially: vulnerable people, such as young children; People with lighter eyes. Or people who have recently had cataract surgery. Normally, if you look at the sun, you will too Sneezing Or close your eyes. When there is an eclipse, especially before it is partially obstructed, it is not bright enough to force you to close your eyes. But it is still severe enough to cause permanent damage to the retina.

Take me through what scientifically happens to the eye when you look at an eclipse. Do eyes really burn? If so, what does it feel like?

Unfortunately, retinal damage appears to be nil. If you pinch your skin, you have pain receptors, and you feel pain. But if you experience a burn or tear in your retina, you may see flashing lights, but it is a painless event.

The damage does not begin to appear until hours or sometimes even days later. Light damages the retinal pigment epithelium along with the retina, causing swelling of the retinal layers and releasing free radicals that continue to damage the retina over time. So the damage continues beyond the time of exposure. The result is decreased visual acuity, distorted vision, and the appearance of a blind spot. You can get any of these symptoms. Any of these things should prompt you to go to your optometrist and get checked out right away.

So to be clear. Exactly how long after exposure do these symptoms appear?

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It can start anywhere from an hour to a week after the exposure you start seeing signs.

Are we talking about permanent damage?

Often it is permanent damage. If the exposure is very short and very mild, most cases will resolve within about six weeks, meaning you will regain your vision. But often there is a shift that accompanies it, which is that rippling, a distortion of vision that sometimes lasts forever.

I have patients who have had sunburn or sunholes who have 20/40, 20/80, or sometimes even worse vision – permanently. But even worse is a blind spot in their central vision, which means they actually miss an image in the middle of their vision.

Are there procedures to remove this damage?

Unfortunately no. We've tried things like steroid treatments, but the best treatment is prevention.

So, when talking about all this, Donald Trump peaking at the sun comes to mind. What are your initial thoughts after seeing the President of the United States ignore the warning to not look?

It was unfortunate. Of course, I don't know his visual history. But it sets a bad example, especially for people who don't know and don't have the information, such as young children, who may then want to do the same. They have become vulnerable.

Trump looked at the eclipse in 2017. It has now been seven years. So, although many things may be wrong about him, his vision seems sound.

Well, how would I know? I didn't check his eyes. There is no way to look at someone and know that they only have 20/40 vision or a blind spot in one eye. At his age, you should wear reading glasses all the time instead of squinting. He doesn't do that either.

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Is there any advice for him regarding the upcoming eclipse?

I don't tend to give people vision advice. But what I would advise anyone to do at any age is to make sure they have a medical examination every year to make sure their eyes are healthy. Certainly, as people get older, to make sure their eyes are healthy to rule out signs of conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts — things that can be prevented and treated.

Well, amazing. Anything else we should know?

The only other suggestion I have for kids is reading A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court By Mark Twain. There is an eclipse out there, and knowing the date of the eclipse could save someone's life. It's a fun story.

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