There Was A Concerning Spike In Certain Google Searches Right After The US Eclipse

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. There were countless articles online and so many TV items during the news letting you know how to view it safely, you can’t have missed all of them.

But nevertheless, it looks like the message didn’t sink in. 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.

Google trends for the search term “my eyes hurt” over the last 7 days (top) and on April 8 (bottom).
Image credit: Google Trends (top and bottom)

Perhaps more alarmingly, when Google breaks down the data by state, it tracks a little too well with the path of totality.

Interest in the search term “my eyes hurt” by state.
Image credit: Google Trends

So what should you do if you were one of the people who couldn’t resist taking a little glance at our star?

Well, that depends. If you looked whilst wearing proper safety glasses, it could be that your eyes just hurt from adjusting to the unusual light you saw through the shades, like when you wear any new glasses and it takes time for your eyes to adjust.

If you looked directly at the Sun without glasses, however, it can potentially burn your retina, known as solar retinopathy. According to the Eyecare Trust, symptoms include:

Watery and sore eyesDifficulty seeing shape and detail of objectsDiscomfort with bright lightA blind spot in your central visionObjects may appear to be unusually colored or distorted in shape

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and you looked directly at the Sun, you should see your physician or optometrist ASAP.

The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions. 

[H/T: Reddit]

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