The tourism industry in the U.S. is buzzing because of Monday’s total solar eclipse, which is the first of its kind in nearly a century. WebMD has written a very informative post that will no doubt save many people’s eyes—including mine. As it says: “Doctors and astronomers are warning people to protect their eyes from the sun, which will be able to damage them until the moon covers it completely.”
“‘Even short periods gazing at the sun can cause damage,’ says Russell Van Gelder, MD, former president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. ‘With the appropriate protection and knowing when it’s safe and not safe to look at the eclipse, you can still enjoy this pretty remarkable celestial event.'” And later: “‘It’s a bad idea to look at the sun even when it’s down to a tiny sliver of its normal disk, says Van Gelder. ‘The biggest danger is called solar retinopathy, when intense sunlight burns a hole in the retina—the inner surface at the back of the eyeball where nerve cells pick up images.’”
I had no idea there are no pain fibers in the eye, so you can’t tell you’re injuring your eye. It’s also good to know that you should not look through a telescope, binoculars or a camera unless there’s a special solar filter over the lens.
Doctors are also warning people to wear proper protective glasses and to beware of fakes. “’If you do a Google search for eclipse glasses, you’ll get dozens and dozens and dozens of sites that claim to be selling ISO-certified solar eclipse glasses, and many of them are bogus,’ Fienberg says. ‘If the company you want to order from is not listed on the American Astronomical Society eclipse website, on our reputable vendors page, you should not buy from them.’”
In the end, eye safety is the most important thing, as is the lesson being preached by this man who lost part of his sight to a partial eclipse in 1962. If you can’t view this solar eclipse safely, my advice is to not look at it at all.
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