How to Safely View a Solar Eclipse
We’re counting down the days until Monday, August 21, 2017 when many parts of the country will be able to witness the first total solar eclipse in decades. Being in the path of totality, our city is buzzing about, getting ready for the big day by planning celebrations and handing out important info. Because, while it’s fun that we’re going to get to witness it, a solar eclipse can be very damaging to the eyes when not viewed properly.
Why is this important? If your eyes are exposed to excessive UV light during a short duration (like an eclipse), a few things can occur. First, Photokeratitis (or a sunburn of the eyes) can result. Symptoms include red, gritty eyes and extreme light sensitivity and tearing that can take days to months to resolve. It is especially important for those with dry eye disease and other corneal issues to be vigilant about wearing proper eye protection throughout the event.
A more serious and permanent condition that can occur due to intense UV exposure is Solar Retinopathy. Intense UV light exposure (of any duration) causes damage to the rods and cones in the back of the eye, and this damage can be permanent. Solar retinopathy will cause vision loss and is not something to be taken lightly. To ensure that you enjoy your time during this spectacular phenomenon, I’m going to give you a few tips to make the most of those few, precious minutes and ensure that your eyes stay healthy throughout.
- DON'T LOOK AT THE SUN... PLEASE!!! Even with filters in place it is extremely dangerous. Viewing this event is not about what you see at the sun but rather what you see when it is completely covered. The real magic of a total solar eclipse occurs when the moon completely covers the sun. Look both east and west to view the real magic and watch for the moon's shadow covering the earth. Listen for the nocturnal animals/insects get confused and start their usual nighttime ritual to quit a few minutes later. You will also see a solar corona around the moon when totality exists, which is bluish-black sky with stars and planets with a big black hole punched out in the middle. If you must look at the sun, wear Solar Eclipse Glasses: These special glasses are super dark and must meet the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard. NEVER use regular sunglasses or look through a camera, binoculars, or a telescope without a filter (which should be on the front of the device). Certain welding shields can be used if they are made of number 14 welder’s glass, although they should not be used if you’re unsure of the grading. Doing so can cause permanent damage to the retina in the back of your eyes and this only takes seconds to achieve (think about starting a fire with a magnifying glass with the sun's rays).
- Look for Scratches: Never use a pair of eclipse glasses that appears scratched, torn, or punctured as this can put you at risk for eye damage. Also, make sure to use the special glasses over your prescription glasses.
- There’s Only One Time You Can Remove Them: Although I recommend wearing your eclipse glasses throughout the entire event, the glasses can technically be removed ONLY if you are in the path of totality and ONLY during the few seconds to minutes that the moon completely covers the sun. As you can see, this specific time frame can be difficult to judge which is why we would rather everyone keep them on!
- Watch Your Kids: If ever there was a time to make sure your children are in sight, August 21 is the day. Children are not always great at leaving sunglasses on, and the same goes for solar eclipse glasses. If you plan to have your child watch the eclipse, ensure that they are wearing their eclipse glasses for the entire duration of the event.
- Know What to Expect: Many towns, stretching from South of Portland, OR to Charleston, SC will be in the path of totality, meaning that the moon will completely cover the sun and leave those areas in total darkness for a few seconds to minutes. If you’re able to travel to somewhere in this path, we can guarantee your experience will be superb and possibly once in a lifetime. If you’re outside of this path, you’ll still get to see a partial eclipse. No matter where you are on that day, make sure to stake out a comfortable spot and pray for a bright and sunny, no-clouds day!
Preparing for a solar eclipse is easy when you have the facts, and we want to ensure that you enjoy this event without having to worry about damage to your eyes or those of your loved ones. Follow the guidelines above, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns in the comments below!
Dr. Travis Zigler
hey it's a Dr. Zigler here
Travis Zigler with Eye Love I can't see
the camera right now because I've got my
solar eclipse glasses on to look up at
the Sun and I wanted to give you five
tips on the solar eclipse coming up so
always wear ISO 1 2 3 1 2 / 2
certified glasses and you want to make
sure that if you are looking up at the
Sun I always recommend not but if you
are looking up at the Sun you don't want
to see any haziness around it you
don't see the sky you would just want to
see that nice gold ball and I recommend
not looking at it too long anyway if
you're going to look at it again don't
look at it
tip number 2 is and I do have a bonus
for you at the end of this video - so
tip number 2 is going to be that you
need to watch your kids your kids are
going to want to stare at the Sun
without the glasses on so you need to
really keep a close eye on your kids
because that could be incredibly
dangerous if something were to happen to
them tip number three I think is the
only time you can take these off is when
the moon is completely covering the Sun
that's when it gets really neat you'll
see a lot of solar Coronas around the
moon and it won't be bright that's when
you know it's safe to take them off when
it's no longer bright and hard to look
at because as you know when the sun is
shining it's very hard to look at and I
never recommend looking at it tip number
five enjoy the moment did I skip four I
don't even know this these Eclipse
glasses are really throwing me off so
but enjoy the moment it's going to be
pretty neat to see it's going to be once
in a lifetime for some people and you
really enjoy it now my bonus for you is
you use the code Eclipse on our website
E C L I P S E use code
Eclipse on our website at EyeLovetheSun.com for 20% off our entire store this
ends the day of the Eclipse at 11:59
p.m. Eastern Time
so hurry on over there 20% off ECLIPSE
or click the link below and it will take
you right to the website and it will
give you that code again dr. Travis
Zigler I want to thank you for joining