While Google Trends only provides a relative snapshot of people’s searches, it is nevertheless a quite interesting view into human behavior. At times, said behavior can be quite frustrating as evident by yesterday’s peak of “eyes hurt” searches on Google.
Searches for “eyes hurt” in the U.S. began rising at 8AM PST yesterday and reached its relative height at 11AM PST. For most places, that was about half-an-hour after the solar eclipse’s peak. It took four or so hours after that for the rates to fall back to normal levels.
Geographically, West Virginia had the most “interest,” followed by Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, and Alabama. These states all had a relatively better view of the solar eclipse.
While it’s possible that “eyes hurt” was queried simply due to curiosity, the similarly high”eyes hurt after eclipse” search hints a bit at the after-the-incident nature of the question.
This happened even after the weeks of warnings from authorities like NASA and most news reports that provided blitz-like coverage on the occurrence in the days leading up to it. Residents in some states even received an emergency alert just before the eclipse to not look at the sun without proper equipment. Then again, there was a spike in faulty glasses being sold, so some might have just had improper or malfunctioning gear.
At the end of the day, the total solar eclipse was a truly stunning natural phenomenon. While the dangers are clearly obvious, the fact that somebody would doubt them is not a complete surprise. Then again, looking at the sun might be the most impressive way to make your eyes hurt.
Image via Getty