Worried You Damaged Your Eyes Watching The Eclipse? This At-Home Test Can Tell You If You Did

by Gwendolyn Plummer
Gwen is a writer, reader, hockey fan, concert goer, and lunchtime enthusiast.

If there was one thing every news station wanted us to know about the eclipse, it was that we shouldn’t stare at it directly.

Over and over again we heard the reality of how harmful it can be to stare straight at the solar eclipse.

We stocked up on special glasses and filters, learned how to view the eclipse through a cereal box, and watched it online in an attempt to save our eyesight.

I viewed the eclipse through special glasses made to protect my eyes — but afterward, I still found myself anxiously convinced I had done something wrong.

What if the glasses were fake?

What if I looked up for too long?

What if I had just ruined my sight forever?

If you’re as anxious as me, you might be having similar thoughts even if you did everything right. Luckily, there’s an easy way to test your eyes and see if you’ve done any damage to them.

Keep scrolling to find out.

Thumbnail Photos: Wikimedia Commons / Evan Herk // Flickr / National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

[H/T: Pix 11 New York]


The Great American Eclipse captivated people all across the US. For the first time in nearly 40 years, millions of Americans had the chance to see a total eclipse of the sun in their own backyards.

Even though millions of people were excited to see the eclipse, we quickly learned how dangerous it can be to stare directly at it. You wouldn’t stare directly at the sun without worrying about hurting yourself or damaging your eyesight on a regular day — and that didn’t change just because the moon was in the way.

kid wearing eclipse glasses

To protect their eyes from the sun’s light, eclipse watchers went out and purchased special UV glasses, which allowed them to view the eclipse without damage to their eyesight.

girl with headache

I used a special pair of glasses to view the eclipse, but I was still anxious afterward that I had done something wrong. I had a little bit of a headache when I came back inside, and I was convinced I had done damage to my eyes. According to Pix 11 New York, this was a common complaint. Ophthalmologist Dr. Steven Couch, who works at Washington University at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, told the news that he’s had lots of patients calling in with headaches, painful eyes, and tiredness after the eclipse. Many people were worried they had inadvertently damaged their eyesight.

I know I had similar worries after watching the eclipse for a few minutes, but Dr. Couch says things like headaches and eye discomfort are probably from staring without blinking for too long. If you want to double check that you didn’t do any damage to your eyes, there’s an easy way: It’s called the Amsler grid.

amsler grid

The Amsler grid is a tool you can use at home to test your eyesight before rushing to the doctor’s office. To test your eyes, cover one up and stare at the dot right in the center of the grid. Do it again with the other eye. According to Pix 11, you should call your eye doctor if any of the lines are missing or become wavy, or if you notice any dark areas, strangely sized boxes, or blurry edges. This test works best if you print out the sheet, which you can download here.

something in eye

According to All About Vision, the Amsler grid tests your optic nerve. If you stared at the sun for too long, this would be the part of your eye that you would most likely damage. If you look at the sun for too long, you can even burn your retina. The earlier you diagnose these problems, the more likely you and your eye doctor can limit or slow vision loss.


What do you think? Did the Amsler grid reassure you that you didn’t damage your eyesight? I’m so glad there’s such a useful test that you can easily do at home!

Please SHARE this test on Facebook to help others make sure they didn’t damage their eyes!