Anderson Cooper Blinded for 36 Hours Due to Sunburn

Anderson Cooper attends CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute on December 2, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

On assignment for 60 Minutes in Portugal last week, Anderson Cooper had quite the scare when he went temporarily blind — for 36 hours.

Shooting a segment at sea, the journalist — on the water for two hours on an overcast day — was blinded by UV light bouncing off water.

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“I wake up in the middle of the night and it feels like my eyes are on fire, my eyeballs and I think, oh maybe I have sand in my eyes or something,” Cooper told guest cohost Christie Brinkley on the Dec. 4 episode of his daytime talk show Anderson Live. “I douse my eyes with water. Anyway, it turns out I have sunburned my eyeballs and I go blind. I went blind for 36 hours.”

anderson cooper

On Tuesday’s Anderson Live, Cooper revealed that he received medical care in Portugal after burning his retina and shared a photo of his bandaged right eye. Despite his scary ordeal, Cooper now looks back on the experience with humor. “That’s my new profile picture by the way,” he joked when sharing the picture. “I think that’s going to really work for me.”

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His eye injury is not the only crisis Cooper has faced while on assignment. When reporting in Cairo, Egypt in March 2011, the newsman was attacked by supporters of Hosni Mubarak. “There was no rhyme or reason to it — it was just people looking for a fight, looking to make a point, and punching us,” he said at the time.

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