Sunday, December 13, 2009


Stupid Is as Stupid Does

This is horrifying:

Five people who stared at the sun in the hope they might be witnessing religious apparitions are being treated for serious eye damage, a top eye surgeon has revealed. ...

Dr Eamonn O'Donoghue, of University College Hospital in Galway ... revealed he is treating five patients for serious eye injuries caused by staring at the sun at recent gatherings at Knock organised by Dublin "spiritual healers" Joe Coleman and Keith Henderson. ...

They have since suffered a serious condition called solar retinopathy, caused by the sun's rays burning into the central part of the eye's retina.

Victims have suffered 50pc vision loss which seriously impairs basic abilities such as reading and driving.

Dr O'Donoghue said that it was "monstrous" to mislead people into thinking that altered vision and effects, such as seeing the sun dance, were a religious apparition when they were classic symptoms of solar retinopathy.

"If it did not have such monstrous effects you could describe it as a cheap circus trick," he said.

Dr O'Donoghue, a renowned opthalmic surgeon who also lectures in NUI Galway and works on vision-aid schemes in developing countries, warned that many others could have suffered similar damage to their eyes. And he fears that children attending the next event will suffer loss of vision as they are particularly vulnerable to sun damage. He warned pilgrims that they could accumulate further problems if they repeated the practice of staring at the sun at the next gathering. ...

While some of those who have damaged their vision may recover some of their sight in the short term, the damage this has done could cause serious sight problems as they age, Dr O'Donoghue said. ...

Although the Catholic Church warned against attending, some 10,000 pilgrims attended a gathering at Knock on October 31 in the hope of seeing a vision of the Blessed Virgin -- the mother of God according to Catholic doctrine.

Mr Coleman, of Ballyfermot, Dublin, has again predicted an apparition for this week.

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