Health & Wellness

4 Eye Safety Tips for Watching a Solar Eclipse

By on 08/19/2017

A solar eclipse will occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. This will be an incredible spectacle in the Philadelphia area and even more impressive for those in the path of totality.

Within the Philadelphia area, a partial eclipse will be visible from around 1:20 p.m. to 4 p.m., with the maximum eclipse around 2:44 p.m.

While it’s enticing to look at a solar event, it’s important to remember that looking directly at the sun (even during an eclipse) can cause serious eye damage or even blindness. Dr. Vincent K. Young, chair of the Ophthalmology Department at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, provides these eye safety tips for watching the solar eclipse.

  1. Don’t look directly at the eclipse. Even though the sun will be partially covered, staring straight into a solar eclipse carries the same risks as looking directly into the sun.
  2. Wear approved eclipse glasses or use a handheld solar viewer, not sunglasses. Eclipse glasses and similar devices are specially designed to protect your eyes from 99.99 percent of the sun’s rays. Sunglasses typically protect eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays, but during an eclipse, solar rays are highly concentrated. Damage to your eyes can occur in seconds. Be sure to use approved eclipse-viewing sunglasses from a verified vendor to ensure they meet the safety requirements. Here’s a list of approved vendors from American Astronomical Society (AAS).
  3. Use a sun-strength lens filter when looking directly through any optical device such as a camera, telescope, binoculars, etc.
  4. Use the pinhole projection method. With your back to the sun, you can safely project the partial phases of the eclipse in front of you without any special equipment. Learn the best way to watch using the pinhole projection method by reading these instructions from the AAS.

Enjoy the solar eclipse! Learn more about Ophthalmology services at Einstein: https://www.einstein.edu/ophthalmology

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