How to Safely See the Solar Eclipse
The August 21 solar eclipse will be a great spectacle to eyewitness, and viewing the eclipse without damaging your eyesight takes a simple step.
First, take the time to look for eclipse glasses, which are special glasses with a solar filter to protect your retina when viewing an eclipse. Such eyewear should meet a specific worldwide standard: ISO 12312-2. These glasses reduce visible sunlight to safe and comfortable levels while also blocking solar UV and IR radiation.
Looking at the sun for even a short time without wearing the right eye protection can damage your retina permanently and potentially cause blindness.
"Never wear an inferior substitute such as regular sunglasses and never use any homemade filtering device," said Marc Booth, MD, an ophthalmologist at Franciscan Physician Network Coolspring Health Center. "These do not protect your eyes from the solar retinopathy that may result from looking at the sun – even for a brief moment! Vision loss from viewing the sun without the appropriate ISO 12312-2 filter may be permanent."
Central and Northern Indiana/Illinois are not in areas where there will be a complete eclipse. We reside in an area where there is no safe time to look at the solar eclipse with the naked eye or with sunglasses. You must protect your eyes at all times while watching any part of the solar eclipse.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Astronomical Society offer these tips for safely viewing the eclipse:
- Homemade filters and sunglasses are not safe for looking at the sun.
- Purchase eclipse glasses. The few dollars it costs to purchase eclipse glasses is worth saving your sight.
- Carefully look at your solar filter or eclipse glasses before using them. If you see any scratches or damage, do not use them.
- Read and follow all directions that come with the solar filter or eclipse glasses.
- Help children use eclipse glasses correctly.
- Do not look at the sun while putting on or taking off eclipse glasses.
- Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or similar devices, even if you are wearing eclipse glasses. The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes.
- Use a pinhole viewer to project an image of the sun onto another surface, like paper, a wall or pavement.
- Watch the solar eclipse online. NASA will have a live stream of the eclipse.
"Vision loss from viewing the sun without the appropriate ISO 12312-2 filter may be permanent. Enjoy this rare astronomical experience on August 21, but take the appropriate precautions to protect your eyes," Booth said.