Eye Sunburn: What Caused Anderson Cooper's Temporary Blindness?

What Caused Anderson Cooper's Temporary Blindness?

Anderson Cooper has regained his sight after suffering temporary blindness for 36 hours due to sunburned eyeballs, according to news reports.

Cooper was blinded from sunlight that reflected off the water, HuffPost Media reports, while he was on assignment for "60 Minutes."

When the eyes have been sunburned, it may result in damage to the retina or the lens of the eye, WebMD reported, giving the sensation of pain and grittiness.

People magazine reported that Dr. Nancy Snyderman, the chief medical editor of NBC, told Anderson on "Anderson Cooper Live" that he would be fine. However, for some people, sunburn to the eyes can later result in cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer of or around the eyes, and even growths on the eye, according to the University of Houston.

Fortunately, "exposure to UVR radiation, which is cumulative over time and puts one at greater risk for developing eye and vision disorders, can be minimized," Jan Bergmanson, a professor at the University of Houston College of Optometry, said in a statement. "UVR protection can be achieved by simple and inexpensive safety measures that can help prevent or limit damage to the eyes."

The biggest thing you can do to protect your eyes from sunburn? Wear sunglasses -- even during cloudy days, Bergmanson said. (For more information on what kind of sunglasses are best to protect your eyes, click here.)

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