CNN journalist and host Anderson Cooper announced he went blind for 36 hours this week after a trip to Portugal to film 60 minutes. He was on the water for a prolonged amount of time and woke in the night with his eyes thriving in pain. He thought he just had some dirt or sand in them, but his condition was much more serious.
Anderson temporarily lost his vision due to sun damage, which can happen to anyone who does not take the appropriate precautions. His cornea – the eyeball’s outer layer -became inflamed after excessive sun exposure and developed a condition known as keratitis.
The eye’s cornea is extremely susceptible to sun damage similar to our skin. People slather layers of sun screen on their skin before going outside. However, few remember to also protect their eyes from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays which can harm the eye by: damaging various parts, causing abnormal growths and increasing the risk of cancer. In addition, individuals with light colored eyes (like Anderson’s) are more vulnerable to burns.
Anderson was not wearing sunglasses during the shoot, and his experience serves as a startling reminder. Make sure you wear sunglasses outside that absorb at least 99 percent of both UV rays and block out between 75 to 90 percent of visible light. If you are out in the sun and your eyes experience redness, painful sensations, extreme sensitivity to light or excessive tearing immediately visit an eyecare professional urgently.
Read more about Anderson Cooper being blinded by not wearing sunglasses.