Anderson Cooper's Temporary Blindness Is a Terrifying Reminder to Wear Sunglasses

OMG 10

anderson cooperWhoa. Is anybody else kind of freaked out about what happened to Anderson Cooper?! If you haven't heard, Cooper went blind, as in, BLIND, for 36 hours on a recent trip to Portugal after spending an "extended period of time" reporting on the water without sunglasses.

Cooper (who can see again) describes the horrific-sounding experience thusly: "I wake up in the middle of the night and it feels like my eyes are on fire, my eyeballs, and I think, oh maybe I have sand in my eyes or something. I douse my eyes with water. Anyway, it turns out I have sunburned my eyeballs and I go blind. I went blind for 36 hours."

He sunburned his eyeballs?! I didn't even know that could happen. Let alone that getting an eyeball sunburn can make you go blind (even temporarily).

But apparently it can happen -- though, thankfully, it doesn't happen too often. See, when the eye's outer layer, called the cornea, gets burned by the sun, it becomes inflamed. This is known as keratitis, an extremely painful condition that can also cause temporary blindness. Someone like Cooper, with light irises, is at a higher risk (and the fact that he was out on the UV-reflective water made things worse).

With treatment (numbing and antibiotic eye drops), vision is usually restored within a few days, but the damage is done -- much like when skin gets sunburned -- so protection is key. Of course, they don't make sunblock for eyeballs, hence the need for sunglasses. Even in the winter. 

This is pretty life-changing news, at least to me. I almost never wear sunglasses, mostly because I can never find a pair that I really like (partly because I always lose them and so I figure, why bother?). But sunburned eyeballs?! No thanks. See ya later, I'm off to shop for shades.

Do you wear sunglasses all year-round?


Image via Bart Everson/Flickr

celebrities, general health, healthy habits

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CPN322 CPN322

I do. I'm one of those people that are highly sensitive to all the senses. I wear sunglasses even when most people wouldn't(i.e. cloudy out but still a little bright to me) and often times feel weird about it but I'd rather wear them then have my eyes hurt. Now I'm especially glad that I do!

nonmember avatar My turn

This can also happen in winter from the glare off the snow. It's called snow blindness. The sun is not something to be trifled with.

Bob192 Bob192

How scary!!  I did not know this could happen either.  I wear regular glasses, so I don't usually wear sun glasses.

poshkat poshkat

I never go anywhere without my sunglasses. I have light green eyes and can't see without sunglasses on sunny days. I also wear them on cloudy days, my eyes are extremely sensitive and I protect myself as much as possible

4kidz916 4kidz916

I always wear sunglasses.  My eyes are very sensitive to light. 

MamaB... MamaBear2cubs

Wow that is scary. I need to wear shades more often.

Miche... MichelleK41

No I have progressive lenses and could not fork out another couple hundered for them in sunglass mode.

mommy... mommythree0508

Yes I do. I get horrible headaches if I don't.

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