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Solar Eclipse Eye Safety Tips

If you haven’t heard yet there will be a solar eclipse this coming Monday August 21st, 2017. This is one of the rare occurrences we will see the moon pass in front of the sun leading to a total solar eclipse, or for us in Florida we will see a partial eclipse.

In Fort Lauderdale it will start at 1:26pm, with the height at 2:57pm and it will be over at 4:20pm. Regular sunglasses are cool for everyday wear but will not be sufficient to view the eclipse safely.  If the proper precautions are not taken, you can permanently damage your retina, leading to solar maculopathy. It only takes 8-10 seconds of viewing to damage the retinal cells responsible for your central vision for the rest of your life. Here are some tips to safely view the eclipse:

  1. Use a pair of ISO 12312-2 solar eclipse glasses. Make sure you put them on looking down and then look at the eclipse and then look back down before taking them off. They may be still available at the library.
  2. Make a pinhole camera or better yet get a pasta strainer with round holes, put your back to the sun and project the shadow onto a piece of paper and watch a lot of tiny eclipses happen at once.

Some things NOT TO DO:

  1. Do not look directly at the sun… This is never safe but especially not during an eclipse.
  2. Do not use regular sunglasses, even the darkest sunglasses do not provide appropriate protection from the ultraviolet and infrared rays directed at the retina.
  3. Do not point your camera, binoculars or telescope directly at the sun without the proper filter as you will damage the lens in the camera or the device you are using.

Enjoy this once in a lifetime event but do it safely! We love your eyes and don’t want you to injure your most precious gift!

For more information on Solar Retinopathy: http://www.retinalphysician.com/issues/2013/october-2013/solar-retinopathy-etiology,-diagnosis,-and-treatm

For more information on the Solar Eclipse: http://eyesteve.com/solar-eclipse/

Author
Dr. Gustavo Garmizo, FAAO Dr. Gustavo Garmizo, FAAO Board Certified Optometric Physician at West Broward Eyecare Associates

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