On August 21st, a total solar eclipse will affect the United States for the first time in almost 40 years.  Understandably, we will all want to experience this rare phenomenon.  It’s crucial, however, that we view it safely.  If not viewed under safe conditions, long term vision loss can occur.   Here’s what you need to know so you and your family can enjoy this awesome event without suffering eye damage.

-Rays from the sun are always harmful to the eye, even during the partial eclipse phase.  So, except for during the total eclipse phase, the eclipse should not be viewed directly without using an approved filter.

-Approved filters will be labeled that they meet the requirements for ISO-12312-2.  Sunglasses, welding hoods, or other optical devices (cameras, telescopes, etc.) should not be used to view the eclipse.   Eclipse glasses are available for purchase through multiple outlets.

-The proper technique for viewing the eclipse through an approved filter is as follows:  Stand still and cover your eyes with your filter before viewing the sun.  After glancing at the sun through your filter, turn away and remove your filter – do not remove it while looking at the sun. 

-Children should be closely supervised during the eclipse, as they may not understand the risk of eye damage.  Any children who may not be responsible enough to view the eclipse safely should not be exposed to the eclipse. 

                A solar eclipse is truly an awesome event.  By following the rules above, you and your family can enjoy it safely. 

Until next time –

Clint Taylor, OD

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