Mere hours after Monday's solar eclipse ended, the patients began lining up at hospitals across America.
In California, emergency physician Aimee Moulin treated a fractured foot on someone who fell off a step while wearing dark eclipse glasses.
In North Carolina, where the eclipse's path ended, emergency physician Bret Nicks' E.R. treated sprains, strains, lacerations and wrist fractures on eclipse viewers so intent on looking up that they failed to pay attention to their earthly surroundings.
And then, of course, there were patients with potential eye injuries like those at Mount Sinai's New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in New York City. "Dozens," said Dr. Avnish Deobhakta, who saw once-happy sky gazers citing headaches and blurry vision. Deobhakta, an ophthalmologist, saw eclipse viewers at his personal clinic, too.
He guessed that many New Yorkers heard you could view at a total eclipse without eye protection, but didn't understand that only applied to places in the path of totality. (New York wasn't one of them.) Others, he said, built last-minute pinhole projectors and looked through the pinhole at the sun. (That's not how those work.)
Only a few showed signs of actual retina damage, he said, which can prove irreversible. Other patients, perhaps worried over reports of eclipse damage, visited out of an abundance of caution, he said.
"I do think there's an element of the power of suggestion," Deobhakta said, "that now that I have blurry vision —I may have had some before —now I'll go see the doctor after the eclipse."