Fox 2/KPLR 11 photographer shares story of eye damage after looking at solar eclipse

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SHREWSBURY, Mo. - While the day of the total eclipse will bring lots of fun, medical experts warn that there is a serious side when it comes eye safety.

"Didn't listen to the doctors or any of the warnings and I just looked up at the sun for, like, a half-second," said FOX 2 News photographer Wade Francom.

He said that half of a second is all that it took for him to realize that something was wrong with his right eye.

"I looked back down to the ground and noticed I had a fuzzy spot in my eye,"Francom said. "It was just following me around, like a little bee."

Francom was 12-years-old when he experienced his first solar eclipse.

"I don't think there were even glasses to put on," he said. "It wasn't like the last couple of weeks where everywhere you go, you're hearing people say, 'Don't look up at the sun.'"

Times may have been different back then, but a lot has changed since, especially when it comes to stricter warnings.

"People who don't take the appropriate precautions may end up coming home with an unwanted souvenir," said Dr. Jason Brinton of Briton Vision in Creve Coeur.

Brinton said that it's important to resist the urge to look directly into the sun, even momentarily.

"That damage can give you a permanent blind spot, in the center of your vision which can make it difficult to recognize faces, to drive, to see crisp and sharp details and even effect color vision," he said.

Brinton said regular dark sunglasses or a welding helmet will not prevent someone from developing a blind spot.

Chad Anderson of Shrewsbury said that he is taking no such chances with his two boys who are excited about the once in a life time event.

"Just making sure they truly understand how important it is to be safe with this event," Anderson said. "We've purchased our glasses, the correct glasses."

Francom said he thinks back to the time when he heard about some warnings but didn't pay attention.

"Just a half second of not obeying the warnings have kind of followed with me for my life and will be with me for the rest of my life," he said.

Parents who maybe concerned about safety glasses not properly fitting a child's face, a 'paper plate trick' can be found at the link below.

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