Eye problems reported after solar eclipse

JIJI

At least 16 people visited eye clinics in Japan on Monday due to pain or other eye problems after observing a solar eclipse in the morning.

Of the 16, from six prefectures, four were children between 4 and 8, while the oldest was an-80-year-old woman, the Japanese Ophthalmological Society said.

The people stared at the sun with the naked eye or failed to use special protective glasses properly, according to the society.

They are suspected of developing solar retinopathy, but their symptoms do not seem to be serious, society people said.

An annular solar eclipse was visible in eastern to southwestern Japan including Tokyo while a partial eclipse was seen in the rest of the country.

The society and the Japan Ophthalmologists Association are conducting a nationwide survey of solar retinopathy with cooperation from 14,000 eye doctors throughout Japan, the first large-scale survey on the disease ever conducted in the world.

Separately, the education board in Kagawa Prefecture, western Japan, said one junior high school student visited a clinic due to eye pain. Three high school students were also advised to seek medical attention after they complained of eye problems.

In central Japan, a 40-year-old German man became stranded at the top of Mount Fuji, Japan’s highest mountain, which he had climbed to view the annular eclipse.

The man, a corporate employee living in Mie Prefecture, became unable to climb down due to coldness and exhaustion, but he is in a tent and not in a life-threatening situation, local police said.

Rescue work was suspended due to storms but will be resumed Tuesday morning. At present, the upper half of the mountain is closed for winter and climbers are banned from going any higher than the fifth of the mountain’s 10 stations.