I looked at the eclipse without glasses; now what?

So, you either forgot to wear your special eclipse glasses or threw caution to the wind and stared at the total solar eclipse when it was only partially covered on Monday and are now wondering whether you’ve damaged your eyes. 

It all depends on when you looked and for how long and if you see changes in your eyesight after the fact. 

If you looked at the sun when the moon was completely covering it during the eclipse, you should be safe, the American Academy of Ophthalmology told FOX TV Stations. 

"The only time that you can look at the sun without a solar viewer is during a total eclipse. When the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets dark, you can remove your solar filter to watch this unique experience," the AAO said. 

However, if you stared at the sun when it was only partially covered for a long time, you may or may not have risked damaging your eyes. 

RELATED: Solar eclipse glasses sold on Amazon, in stores recalled

looking at the eclipse with glasses

A man looks at the solar eclipse through two pair of mylar filter glasses near the base of the Washington Monument on the National Mall on April 08, 2024 in Washington, DC. ( Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

What are the symptoms of eye damage? 

Symptoms of eye damage after starting at the sun for too long can include the following: 

  • Blurry vision
  • Headache
  • A blind spot in your central vision in one or both eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Distorted vision (straight lines look bent, door jamb looks curvy)
  • Changes in the way you see colors

When do symptoms of eye damage begin? 

The AAO said if you looked at the partially covered solar eclipse for an extended period of time and sustained damage, you will likely not feel any pain. 

The retina in your eyes does not have any pain nerves, so any symptoms of damage will be purely visual. 

If you did damage your eyes, the symptoms will show up anywhere from four to six hours after the damage was sustained, according to AAO.  

RELATED: How long can you safely look at an eclipse?

Solar retinopathy

Staring at the sun for too long without any protective eyewear can cause blindness, also known as solar retinopathy. 

This isn’t a danger exclusive to eclipses and other astronomical events (you should never look directly at the sun). But because an eclipse is such a rare and often awe-inspiring occurrence, people are far more likely to risk it, thus exposing themselves to harmful solar radiation. 

Many people can recover from solar retinopathy after about three to six months, but some people may suffer from permanent vision loss. 

"While there is unfortunately no treatment for solar retinopathy, it is still important to see your ophthalmologist if you experience difficulties with your vision. An ophthalmologist will take a scan of the eye to confirm if there was any damage and can work with you to track any changes in the future," Ashley Brissette, MD, clinical spokesperson for AAO, told FOX. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.