Don’t Risk Eye Damage During the Solar Eclipse

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solar eclipse

The Solar Eclipse August 2017

America will experience a total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. During the eclipse, the skies will darken from Oregon to South Carolina on a patch of land that extends about 70 miles, called the path of totality. This will undoubtedly be an incredible experience for anyone who gets to experience it. While you enjoy this natural phenomenon, don’t forget about safety. You can experience eye damage during the eclipse. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.

solar eclipse, Don’t Risk Eye Damage During the Solar Eclipse

Man Blinded During Eclipse in 1962

One Oregon man watched a partial solar eclipse with a friend while walking home from high school 55 years ago. That moment changed his life. Lou Tomososki had only been looking at the sun for a few seconds when he began to see flashes in his vision. He has had vision problems ever since, and warns people wanting to enjoy the eclipse on August 21 to be careful, and not look directly at the eclipse. The damage can occur within seconds, but will stay with you for life.

“Millions of people out there are going to be looking out at it… How many of them are going to say, ‘Something happened to my eyes?’” Tomososki told Today. “That makes me sick.”

Stay Safe During the Solar Eclipse

The only time that it is safe to look at the sun is during the total phase of the solar eclipse, when it is entirely covered by the moon. However, this only occurs on the path of totality, and only lasts momentarily.

The only safe way to view the partial eclipse is through solar filters, such as eclipse glasses, or hand-held solar viewing devices. NASA does not recommend looking at the eclipse through standard sunglasses or even homemade devices.

If you decide to purchase eclipse glasses, be sure that you’re getting them from a reputable source. Amazon recently recalled several eclipse glasses after not being able confirm that they met safety regulations.

eclipse glasses

How to Tell if Your Eclipse Viewers or Glasses are Safe

First, check to see if the viewing device complies with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for filters of directly viewing the sun. The market has been flooded with non-compliant glasses, so don’t trust that just because the glasses say they’re compliant, they are. Look for the code on the glasses, and purchase from a reputable vendor. Click here for Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers.

Make Your Own Viewer

Although NASA cautions against using homemade devices, many people have made homemade devices that work.

Click here to view a slideshow of students in 1962 making eclipse viewer boxes in 1962.

Watch the following video for more safety tips and a DIY option.

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