People intending to visit Knock Shrine tomorrow (Saturday ) in the hope of seeing an apparition of the Virgin Mary are being warned that staring at the sun can be damaging to their eyes.
Since the last supposed apparition there has been a surge in the number of eye patients who have presented to a Galway eye surgeon.
Dr Eamonn O’Donoghue, a consultant ophthalmologist surgeon in University Hospital Galway, has seen five cases of solar retinopathy this year, all linked to the ‘apparitions’ at Knock and this is in stark contrast to the one case at most he would see of this particular complaint in a year. Two of those who presented to Dr O’Donoghue also spoke of damage to family members’ eyes.
Visionary Joe Coleman has predicted that the Virgin Mary will make a third appearance this year at Knock, tomorrow (Saturday December 5 ) at 3pm. The first of these events took place on October 11 where thousands attended the Marian Shrine in the hope of seeing Our Lady. The second event followed on October 31 where the Basilica was left in a despicable state by some of the would-be visionaries who upturned chairs, ate, drank, used mobile phones, and even changed babies’ nappies in the sacred building.
The behaviour of some of the attendees, who had little regard for their holy surroundings as they joined the stampede from inside the Basilica to the grounds outside, has been condemned by staff at the Shrine.
The shrine has not been contacted by Mr Coleman or any of his team in relation to Saturday’s planned ‘apparition’ and a shrine spokesperson told the Mayo Advertiser that interest in these ‘apparitions’ seems to be dwindling with much fewer calls to the shrine in relation to the third event, in comparison to the previous two.
Ahead of Saturday’s scheduled apparition, people are being warned of the dangers of solar retinopathy. Dr O’Donoghue told The Irish Times that “It can potentially lead to blindness with prolonged exposure.” He added that it is “profoundly irresponsible” to encourage people to stare at the sun.
Dr O’Donoghue explained that “If you stare at the sun for long enough you’re going to get some visual disturbances.
“Since the time of Galileo people have known that looking directly at the sun can do damage to your eyes,” he added.