Safely Viewing the Solar Eclipse: Tips to Protect Your Vision
On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible across North America (weather permitting). During a solar eclipse, the moon blocks part of the sun from our view.
According to Beloit Health System Ophthalmologist Alice Townshend, MD, watching a solar eclipse can be tempting, but looking directly at the sun can cause serious damage to your eyes. Staring at the sun for even a short time without wearing the right eye protection can damage your retina permanently and cause blindness.
Solar filters or “eclipse glasses” are the only safe way to look directly at the sun. Townshend says they are specifically designed to protect your eyes from the sun and must meet a very specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2.
Dr. Townshend adds that ordinary sunglasses are not a safe alternative because they do not offer enough protection from the suns damaging rays.
Dr. Townshend encourages anyone interested in viewing the solar eclipse to follow a few safety tips outlined by the American Academy of Ophthalmology:
After the August 2017 eclipse across North America, the next total solar eclipse will be in South America on July 2, 2019.
Alice Townshend, MD is a board certified ophthalmologist at the Beloit Clinic Eye Center, 1905 East Huebbe Parkway in Beloit, WI.
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