Solar retinopathy (photo-retinitis, foveomacular retinitis, photomaculopathy, or eclipse retinopathy) is the retinal injury induced by direct or indirect exposure to light. Harmful effects of viewing sun are well recognised. Solar retinopathy may be due to looking at solar eclipse with or without telescope, sunbathing, religious gazing of sun, and use of psychotropic drugs.
The effect of light on retina is being recognised since the time of Plato, who gave description of eclipse blindness.
Photic (related to light) retinopathy is a generalised term used for retinal damage produced by light. This may be due to solar viewing or may be produced even by the use of operating microscope.
Photo-retinitis damages the retina through photochemical effects, associated with rise in temperature. Sustained viewing of sun for more than 90 seconds through a constricted pupil may exceed the threshold for damage of retinal tissues.
Nema HV, Nema Nitin. Textbook of Ophthalmology Sixth Edition. Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd 2012. P 313.
Sihota Ramanjit, Tandon Radhika. Parson’s Diseases of the Eye Twenty-Second Edition. Reed Elsevier India Private Limited 2015. P 326.
Chaudhuri Zia, Vanathi Murugesan. Postgraduate Ophthalmology Volume 2. Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd 2012. P 2115- 2117.
Agarwal Amar. Fundus Fluorescein and Indocyanine Green Angiography- A Textbook and Atlas. Slack Incorporated 2008. P 150-151.
Rishi Pukhraj, Rishi Ekta, Sharma Tarun, Bhende Muna, Sen Parveen, Ratra Dhanashree, Gopal Lingam. The Sankara Nethralaya Atlas of Fundus Fluorescein Angiography Second Edition. Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd 2013. P 254- 257.
Stellman Jeanne Mager. Encyclopaedia of Occupational Health and Safety Fourth Edition Volume II. International Labour Organisation 1998. P 49.13- 49.16.
Yanoff Myron, Duker Jay S. Ophthalmology Fourth Edition. Elsevier Saunders 2014. P 461- 466.
Baxter Peter J, Aw Tar-Ching, Cockcroft Anne, Durrington Paul, Harrington J Malcolm. Hunter’s Diseases of Occupations Tenth Edition. Taylor & Francis Group, LLC 2010. P 651.
Roy Hampton, Fraunfelder Frederick W, Fraunfelder Frederick T, Tindall Renee, Jensvold Bree. Roy and Fraunfelder’s Current Ocular Therapy Sixth Edition. Saunders Elsevier Inc. 2008. P 571- 572.
Ryan Stephen J, Sadda SriniVas, Hinton David. Retina Volume 1 Fifth Edition. Elsevier Saunders 2013. P 1557- 1558.
Denniston Alastair KO, Murray Philip I. Oxford Handbook of Ophthalmology Third Edition. Oxford University Press 2014. P 592.
Mild photochemical damage may not be symptomatic in patients.
Symptoms develop usually 1 to 4 hours after exposure to sun and is characterised by
- Pain around orbits.
- Diminution of vision (unilateral or bilateral).
- Central or paracentral scotoma (areas of decreased or obscure vision in the field of vision).
- Photophobia (increased sensitivity to light).
- Metamorphopsia (distorted vision).
- Chromatopsia (objects appear abnormally coloured e.g. erythropsia shows reddish colour).
- Afterimage (persistence of image even after removal of stimulus).