Baltimore, MD - June 8, 2023 Despite the heavy smoke from wildfires obscuring the sun and creating visually striking sunrises and sunsets, experts warn that it remains unsafe to look directly at the sun. The ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) rays it emits, which cause most sun-related eye damage, are unaffected by the smoke particles. Such exposure can lead to serious damage to the eye.

Baltimore's Michael J. Elman, M.D.,  internationally recognized as a leader in clinical research and as an authority in the treatment of retinal diseases, warns that staring at the sun for even a few minutes can create a solar retinal burn and cause permanent visual loss.  There is no treatment for solar retinal burns, which is most common when gazing at an eclipse but also applies to the current circumstances.  Sunglasses do not protect from this condition.