Are you excited for the amazing spectacle that will be the solar eclipse tomorrow?? Myself and Dr. Pete have been discussing for weeks with patients how to safely view the eclipse, and the risks that come with not doing so. Here’s what we’ve discussed:
- If you did purchase a pair of eclipse glasses, you must confirm that they are ISO approved (meeting the newest standard). Many counterfeit glasses have been circulating. Using a counterfeit pair can have devastating, permanent affects to your vision. The label pictured on the right should be on the glasses and packaging.
- Put the glasses on before you look up, and remove them after you’ve looked away. While some say it is safe to remove your glasses during totality, we are not in the path of totality, and I wouldn’t recommend taking the risk of removing the glasses anyway!
- If you do not have eclipse glasses, you have two choices:
- Stay inside and don’t even risk a glance at the eclipse!
- You can indirectly view the eclipse by using the old pinhole projection method – punching a hole in an index card and casting the shape and path of the eclipse on a flat background behind it.
- Prepare your family! Where will your kids be? With friends? Daycare? School? Babysitter? You absolutely need to reiterate with them and whoever they’re with, the danger of viewing the eclipse without proper protection.
- How exactly does the sun damage your eyes during an eclipse? The moon passing in front of the sun provides enough “comfort” for your eyes to be able to look at the eclipse, but the sun’s rays are still just as strong, and can cause irreversible damage to your retina, resulting in central blur. You may not notice until you wake up the next morning and your face looks blurry as you look in the mirror. It’s not worth it!! Below are two photos of the damage (courtesy of retinavitreous.com), the condition is aptly named “Solar Retinopathy.” The first is a picture of burned central retinal tissue in the macula (on the right is your optic nerve). The next is a cross section of the layers of retinal tissue that are damaged (the black spot below the V shaped dip in the tissue, in the central macula).