Unprotected viewing of the sun or exposure to reflected sunlight can result in damage to the retina.


Predisposing conditions:

(1) gazing at the sun

(2) direct viewing a solar eclipse ("eclipse burn", "eclipse blindness", "eclipse retinopathy")

(3) exposure to highly reflected sunlight (for example, glare from ice on a mountain)


The sunlight exposure may not always be reported, especially in small children or a person who has been substance abusing.


Clinical findings:

(1) central scotoma

(2) afterimage

(3) visual distortions (metamorphopsia)

(4) decreased visual acuity

(5) browache


Fundoscopic examination:

(1) Early there is a yellowish-gray lesion in the center of the fovea.

(2) Over several days this area takes on a permanent red appearance and becomes depressed.

(3) Macular pigmentary disruption may occur.


Fluorescein angiography initially shows leakage of dye at the foveal lesion. In severe cases a window defect may develop in the macula.


While many patients will regain normal visual acuity within 6 months, some patients may have long-term or permanent residua.


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