Sun gazing for ‘Virgin Mary’ leaves many with blurred vision

February 29th, 2008 - 2:43 pm ICT by admin  

Kottayam (Kerala), Feb 29 (IANS) Call it mass hysteria or the belief that they can see Virgin Mary by directly looking at the blazing sun. The attempt has left around 50 people with blurred vision in Kerala. The incident took place at Erumely, around 50 km from here, when hundreds of enthusiastic Catholics reportedly sun-gazed after hearing about the ‘miracle’.

K.E. Eapen, a retina specialist who is currently treating the affected at Kottayam, said the first case came to him Feb 15.

“Slowly, more patients started trooping in and many are now ruing what happened. As soon as we got more cases, we informed the medical authorities. Local parishes also read out that the faithful should desist from sun-gazing,” Eapen told IANS.

Reports from Erumely indicate that in their eagerness to sight Virgin Mary, a large number of people gathered at a place called Manjalaruvi Feb 13, offered prayers and started sun-gazing.

“We are now treating close to 50 patients who have blurred vision caused by photochemical reaction. Some of them said that they gazed for 30 seconds, while some said they repeatedly sun-gazed, causing damage to the central part of the eye,” added Eapen.

He said that all those who are under treatment are yet to recover fully.

“It is problematic and while some say they are improving, a few others have not had any significant improvement for their blurred vision,” he said.

Manjalaruvi has been in the news for the past two years after Salomi, a middle aged woman, and her 14-year-old son got cured from cancer reportedly after praying to Virgin Mary.

Since then Manjalaruvi has seen hundreds of faithfuls coming to the home of Salomi and gaze at the sun in the hope of seeing Virgin Mary.

“The maximum crowds come on the 13th of every month to the home where Salomi stayed and it is from there that the faithful do the sun-gazing,” a Manjalaruvi resident said.

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