At least 50 people have lost their sight after staring at the sun hoping to see an image of the Virgin Mary, according to reports.
Alarmed health authorities in India’s Kottayam district have set up a sign dispelling rumours of a miraculous image in the sky and warning of the dangers of looking into direct sunlight.
Forty-eight cases of sight-loss, allegedly caused by photochemical burns on the retina, have been recorded at St Joseph’s ENT and Eye hospital in the region since Friday.
Despite warnings, and the potentially harmful effects of their actions, believers are allegedly still flocking to a hotelier’s house in Erumeli near where the divine image is said to have appeared.
“All our patients have similar history and symptoms… They have developed photochemical, not thermal, burns after continuously gazing at the sun,” Dr Annamma James Isaac, the hospital’s ophthalmologist said.
Even churches in the area have disowned the miracle after health officers and doctors approached the clergy.
The house where the miracle is said to have occurred has apparently been the subject of rumours for months.
The hotelier, who has since moved, had claimed that statues of the Virgin Mary in his house have been crying honey and bleeding oils and perfumes.