Man who damaged eye in solar eclipse wants to warn others

PITTSTON TOWNSHIP (WNEP) -- James Holt of Pittston Township suffered permanent retina damage after staring into a solar eclipse in the 1960s when Holt was only about 10 years old.

"We had heard that if you wanted to see the eclipse you can look through the negatives of a picture," Holt said. "... (You) get several of them stacked together and you can see it and shouldn't have a problem."

Holt was able to view eclipse with no problem. Years later, he said he noticed an issue with his eyesight. It turns out, he damaged a portion of his retina in his right eye from viewing the eclipse.

RELATED: Photos of James Holt

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Man who damaged eye in solar eclipse warns others
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Man who damaged eye in solar eclipse warns others
A man says he suffered permanent retinal damage after staring into a solar eclipse in the 1960s when he was about 10 years old.
A man says he suffered permanent retinal damage after staring into a solar eclipse in the 1960s when he was about 10 years old.
A man says he suffered permanent retinal damage after staring into a solar eclipse in the 1960s when he was about 10 years old.
A man says he suffered permanent retinal damage after staring into a solar eclipse in the 1960s when he was about 10 years old.
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"Using both eyes, I don`t have a problem with it at all," Holt said. "Just using the right eye... looking at small print or things close up small it distorts it."

Dr. Heidi Manning is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Misericordia University. She used to work with NASA.

"To have it go on in the continental United States is not that common, and to have it go all the way across the continent even less common, and that's why this is such a big deal," Manning said. "So, many people are able to see it."

As the eclipse approaches, she wants to warn people about properly protecting their eyes when viewing the eclipse. She suggests you purchase protective glasses or use a box or another homemade device to view the eclipse without directly looking into the sun.

"Don`t be confused with, well, 75 percent of the sun is blocked so, it's not that big of a deal," Manning said. "There is still a tremendous amount of light coming and it can still cause damage to your eyes in just fractions of a second. So, you never want to look directly at the sun."

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