Man’s eye damage lingers from looking at solar eclipse

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mark Bedwell offered up a warning to those planning on watching the total eclipse this Monday.

Bedwell received a retinal burn from the total eclipse in the early 1980s.

In a recent social media post that has been shared more than 50,000 times, he said he was told looking at the solar eclipse through exposed X-ray film.

"We lined up outside Lexington hospital ER with our exposed X-ray films in hand and stared at the solar eclipse that afternoon," Bedwell recalls.

"It was an amazing thing to see," Bedwell said, "And when it was fully covered it got dark and very cold from the noon heat that we're used to. I remember a very very bright searing light and a flash, sort of. Then it went away."

It wasn't until 10 years ago when Bedwell was driving that a "big brown perfectly round spot" appeared in his right eye. He said he couldn't blink it away.

"Pretty much freaked me out," Bedwell said.

When Bedwell visited the optometrist he was told that he had a burn consistent with someone who had looked at an eclipse.

According to Bedwell, the damage can take years to show signs. Aging and stress can cause the damage to peak.

"There is nothing that can be done for it," Bedwell said,  "it's irreparable."

Bedwell said his right eye isn't blind but that his left eye has compensated for the damage.

His hope isn't for people to feel sorry for him but to take eclipse safety seriously.

"I wrote this to let everyone know to take this upcoming solar eclipse seriously; it's not play," Bedwell wrote.

"Don't risk it. Be safe."