There was a spike in certain searches after the US Eclipse

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A total solar eclipse happened across North America yesterday, in case you’re the one person who missed it and wondered why it was briefly nighttime during the day.
OK, there’s not much chance you missed it, given the amount of coverage everywhere.
Judging by spikes of certain Google search terms, it looks like a lot of people may have done what you should never do during the eclipse, and stared right at the Sun.
For example, the search term “my eyes hurt” suddenly spiked during the eclipse.
Perhaps more alarmingly, when Google breaks down the data by state, it tracks a little too well with the path of totality.
If you’re thinking it could just be an unrelated spike in eye pain, similar related (but less ambiguous) terms searched in higher-than-normal volume included: “eyes hurt after looking at eclipse”; “my eyes hurt after looking at the eclipse”; and “why do my eyes hurt after looking at the eclipse”.
If you looked directly at the Sun without glasses, however, it can potentially burn your retina, known as solar retinopathy.
The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


Yesterday, in case you were among the few who were unaware, there was a total solar eclipse that crossed the entire continent, leaving many wondering why it felt like night for a brief period of time.

Alright, considering the extensive coverage across the board, there’s not much chance you missed it. You couldn’t have missed all of the innumerable articles that were posted online and the numerous TV segments that informed you of safe viewing techniques during the newscast.

However, it appears that the message was not fully absorbed. A lot of people may have done what you should never do during an eclipse: stare directly at the Sun, based on spikes in certain Google search terms.

For instance, during the eclipse, the search term “my eyes hurt” experienced an abrupt spike.

What’s possibly more concerning is that Google’s breakdown of the data by state shows that it somewhat agrees with the totality path.

If you’re thinking that the sudden increase in eye pain might be unrelated, related but less ambiguous searches for “eyes hurt after looking at eclipse,” “my eyes hurt after looking at eclipse,” and “why do my eyes hurt after looking at eclipse” turned up more results than usual.

If you were among those who couldn’t help but steal a quick look at our star, then what should you do?

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Obviously, that depends. As with any new glasses, it may take some time for your eyes to get used to the unusual light coming through the shades, so if you were wearing the correct safety glasses when you looked, it’s possible that your eyes were just sore from adjusting to that light.

However, if you stared directly at the sun without wearing glasses, you could burn your retinaโ€”a condition called solar retinopathy. The Eyecare Trust lists the following symptoms.

eyes that are watery and hurt.

seeing object details and shape is difficult.

discomfort from intense light.

a region of blindness in your field of view.

It’s possible for objects to appear to have strange colors or distorted shapes.

You should consult an optometrist or doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms after looking directly at the sun.

This article’s content is not meant to replace expert medical diagnosis, advice, or treatment. If you have any questions about medical conditions, you should always consult a qualified health provider.

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