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Quebec Health Department reports 28 cases of eye damage linked to solar eclipse

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MONTREAL -

Quebec's Health Department says it has received 28 reports of eye damage related to the April 8 total solar eclipse that passed over southern parts of the province.

The 28 cases reported as of April 17 include inflammation of the cornea, dry eyes and solar retinopathy, which is a permanent burn to the retina.

The path of totality -- where the sun is completely covered by the moon, resulting in a period of darkness -- crossed through the regions of Montreal, Monteregie, Estrie, Centre-du-Quebec, Chaudiere-Appalaches and Iles-de-la-Madeleine.

In anticipation of the astronomical event, officials advised people to wear certified eclipse glasses to prevent eye damage when looking directly at the sun, and Quebec's Health Department set up a system to monitor for eye injuries, in collaboration with the province's order of optometrists.

The province says that since the data was collected voluntarily by optometrists, there may be delays in reporting and the 28 cases might understate the true number.

The Health Department says it is still studying the impact of the eclipse on emergency-room visits.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 22, 2024.

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

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