Why Do I Feel Tired After Watching The Solar Eclipse? Eye Fatigue Is No Joke

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Monday was a pretty big day for the universe. The Earth, moon, and sun all perfectly aligned so that we mere mortals could enjoy a little thing called a total solar eclipse — and frankly, it was exhausting. If you're wondering why you feel tired after watching the solar eclipse, know that you, my friend, are not alone. Even if you prepared weeks in advance and secured all of the proper gear you needed to protect your precious eyeballs from the grueling rays of the sun, it's still possible that you walked away from the eclipse not only with a sense of awe and wonder, but also with a slight feeling of fatigue, and possibly a headache, too.

That's because staring at the sun is no joke — even if it is only for a few seconds. You have probably noticed that even under normal circumstances, the sun's brightness can be painful to your eyes, especially if you've only recently stepped outside. And, when you are focusing your vision for a prolonged period of time on a single point in the sky, it's possible you might be experiencing mild eyestrain, which can lead to symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, and — you guessed it! — tiredness.

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It's also worth mentioning that if you've been feeling at all stressed out about the upcoming solar eclipse (after all, the sun nearly disappearing from the sky while the world around you plunges into darkness can be kinda alarming), that anxiety could have your body feeling completely tuckered out as well. Eclipse-related stress is actually pretty common, and it's possible you've been experiencing it even if you didn't realize it.

The good news is, eyestrain and its effects should hopefully fade away relatively quickly, and you should be feeling like your regular pre-eclipse self after 24 hours or so. However, if your vision still feels off after you've had a chance to rest, it's recommended that you go see a doctor immediately. Eclipse blindness is a real thing, and it's not something you should mess around with. "When your eyes are over-stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina," Dr. Janelle Routhier, Senior Director of Customer Development at Essilor, tells Bustle. "This damage is often painless as you don’t have pain receptors in that tissue, so people don't realize they’re damaging their vision."

Not sure if your eyes are just tired, or seriously damaged from staring at the sun? Symptoms of eclipse blindness include on-going light sensitivity, as well as impaired vision in one or both eyes. In many cases, you might not even start experiencing symptoms until 24 hours after looking at the sun.

Of course, if you're not sure if what you're experiencing is serious or not, the best thing to do is to go see a doctor. At the very least, they can provide you with the gift of peace of mind. And in the meantime, rest up. The next total solar eclipse comes around in 2024, and you're going to want to make sure you're feeling your best.