"This All Happened In A Span Of 10 Seconds": This Woman Developed A Permanent "Blind Spot" After Staring At A Solar Eclipse, And People Are Sharing Similar Stories

This week, there was a super rare total solar eclipse, with over 30 million people in its path of totality.

Screenshot from "Nope"

Though exciting, solar eclipses are dangerous to those without proper eye protection. No one knows that better than Bridget Kyeremateng (@iambridget), who went viral on TikTok after developing "blind spots" from looking at a solar eclipse with her bare eyes.

Closeup of Bridget in her TikTok video
@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

"In 2017, I was in Southern California when the solar eclipse happened," Bridget told BuzzFeed. "I was aware that you shouldn't look at the solar eclipse for too long without the glasses, but they were all sold out in my general area, and I was genuinely curious what it would look like staring at it for a couple of seconds."

Woman with a playful expression and hand on chin, looking to the side, indoors
@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

In a now-viral TikTok that's been viewed over 5.5 million times, Bridget begins her story by saying: "It pains me that me and the orange man [Donald Trump] have something in common, and that is that yes, I did look at the solar eclipse six and a half years ago."

@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

In the video, Bridget explained: "I closed my right eye, and I stared at the sun for a good, like, 15 seconds and didn't think anything of it, not an issue," Bridgette explained in the video.

Closeup of Bridget in her TikTok video
@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

"The very next day, I woke up, and I woke up on what I think is my right side, and I opened up my left eye to read on my phone, and I couldn't read every other word. There was, like, a blind spot on every other word I was reading."

Closeup of Bridget in her TikTok video

"I couldn't see things....and I said, 'Oh my god, no, no,'" Bridget says in the video. "I started driving to the eye doctor and couldn't see the signs."

Closeup of Bridget in her TikTok video

"This all happened in the span of 10 seconds. Only 10 seconds, I stared at the sun," Bridget said.

Closeup of Bridget in her TikTok video
@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

Bridgette told BuzzFeed about the lasting effects that she still deals with today: "It took about 24 hours for the blind spot to settle in, and it's been with me to this day. I wear prescribed sunglasses to help ease the strain and headache from my left eye."

Message from Bridge mentioning headaches on the left side due to left eye working harder than right
@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

Another user who shared a similar experience wrote, "Ok, I found my people! Sometimes, when I'm strained, my blind spot comes back."

User expresses relief at finding their community, mentioning a returning blind spot when strained
@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

"I actually went blind in one eye," this user wrote. "Like, I woke up the next day and literally saw black in just one eye, and I'm still dealing with it."

A screenshot of a social media comment by a user discussing a personal experience of suddenly going blind in one eye and coping with it
@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

"Girl, me, too. I thought it was no big deal and did the SAME EXACT THING. Burned a hole in my retina, super depressing, same symptoms! It got worlds better with time, though, but at first, the blurry was made me nauseous."

Commenter shares experience of eye damage and symptoms, finding solace that condition improved over time
@iambridgeet via TikTok / Via tiktok.com

BuzzFeed reached out to Dr. Carly Rose, an experienced optometrist, to find out more about the damage an eclipse can have on the human eye. "Solar retinopathy causes damage to the retina, usually the macula (back of the eye)," Dr. Rose explained. "At this point, the damage is permanent, but it is important to note that solar retinopathy is painless."

Optometrist conducting an eye examination on a patient in a clinic
Jacob Wackerhausen / Getty Images

Dr. Rose explained that the solar eclipse can also damage the front of the eye through a condition called photokeratitis. "This is like a sunburn on your eye that causes eye pain, light sensitivity, watering, blurry vision, etc."

Illustration of a human eye anatomy, labeling parts like the retina, cornea, and optic nerve

"This can present anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours later. The quicker this can be evaluated, the better. There are treatment options such as pharmaceuticals or amniotic membranes to speed the healing process and prevent further damage."

Mark Garlick / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

In 2017, Dr. Rose told us she was able to experience the solar eclipse herself with the proper eye protection, but unfortunately, not everyone did. "After 2017, my office had 60+ calls the next morning."

"Thankfully, 2024 has been much less (1–2!); I liken that to better information ahead of time and easier access to protective eyewear," she said.

"Make sure you get solar eclipse glasses from a trusted source, not damaged, with 3rd party ISO 12312-2 and CE certified," Dr. Rose recommends. "When in doubt, talk to your doctor!"

Four friends wearing eclipse glasses looking upwards with expressions of amazement
Leo Patrizi / Getty Images

If you've ever personally experienced something like this, we'd love to hear from you. Please share your story in the comments below.