Lightning Strike Blinds Woman In One Eye

A 77-year-old woman was left blinded in one eye, after being indirectly hit by lightning while sitting in her car.

Following the strike, the woman experienced back pain and suffered minor burns on her scalp. It was only later in the day that she began to complain of blurred vision.

Damaged retinaAfter visiting an optician, the woman underwent a retinal scanning technique known as optimal coherence tomography. Through this method, ophthalmologist Dr. Permesh Dhillon discovered a small hole in the macula (an area on the retina responsible for much of the eye's vision).

Dhillon and his colleagues deduced that the damage was probably caused by heat from the lightning strike. The image on the right shows a scan of the retina, with the black arrow pointing to the damaged area.

As a result of the incident, Dhillon made a plea to others involved in lightning strike cases:

"In future, if patients are struck by lightning, it should be a routine process to refer them to an ophthalmologist to have an eye assessment"

Humans being struck by lightning is a very rare occurence, and the chance of an average US citizen being struck by lightning in their lifetime is an estimated 1 in 6,250. The outcome of such incidents can vary wildly, although a study by Holle Meteorology concluded that only 10% of lightning strikes are fatal.