On Monday, August 21, all of North America will have the opportunity to watch a solar eclipse, an event that has not happened since 1979. While this is a moment in history to enjoy, Preston Linley, OD, ProMedica Optometrist, wants to remind everyone to view the eclipse safely by wearing the proper eye protection.
What is a solar eclipse?
According to NASA, a solar eclipse is when the moon completely covers the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere, the corona, can be seen.
What eye protection should I wear during the eclipse?
If you’re going to view the solar eclipse, Dr. Linley says the only safe way is to use glasses specifically designed for the eclipse, or have solar filters over the viewing device that you’re using. The filters must be specifically designed to protect your eyes from damaging solar rays. Tinted glass or regular sunglasses will not give you full protection.
What happens if I look at the solar eclipse?
Dr. Linley stresses that you can potentially cause long term, permanent damage to the eyes, or even blindness. The wavelengths from the sun can damage the retina, which is a sensitive part of eye that helps collect light and allows you to see.
Dr. Linley advises following up with your eye care provider immediately if you’re feeling discomfort, blindness, burning or other eye issues after viewing the solar eclipse.
As a last piece of advice, Dr. Linley warns to never look directly at the sun at any time.
For more safe viewing tips from NASA, click here.