How did Phillip become blind in The Cay?  

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After it was decided that Phillip and his mother would leave the island of Curacao and return to the safe haven of the United States, they took a ship, the S. S. Hato, bound for Miami. Before reaching Florida, however, the ship planned to stop in Colon, Panama, at the entrance to the Panama Canal. Two days after leaving Panama, the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat. Phillip's mother helped him on with his life jacket, and they began their descent into a lifeboat. However, the Hato soon "lurched heavily," and Phillip was hit on the head and thrown into the water. He awoke four hours later on board a raft with an old West Indian sailor, Timothy. Phillip's blindness occurred a day or two later, probably, in part, from the blow to his head; however, Timothy blamed it on Phillip's having previously looking directly into the sun. Phillip seemed to agree.

Yes, that was it! I had looked at the sun too much.

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