During this year’s eclipse event, the moon will cover at least part of the sun for 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through, a brief total eclipse of the sun will be visible within a 70-mile-wide patch from Oregon to South Carolina. The moon will completely block the sun for up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds. It is one of nature’s most awesome sights to see and during this phase is the only safe time to look at the eclipse with the naked eye. The safe viewing phase for the naked eye is expected to last only about 30 seconds and only if you are in the direct path of the total eclipse.
For those of us viewing the eclipse in the Michiana area we will be 80-90% eclipsed. Watching solar events can be an exciting and educational experience, but people should do so carefully. Looking at a solar eclipse or other solar event without proper protection can result in serious eye damage.
We want to inform our patients that directly viewing the eclipse or other solar events without proper eye protection is very dangerous and can cause a painless loss of vision, even if the brightness of the light seems comfortable to the viewer. Both visible and invisible rays from the sun can burn the eye’s retina if a viewer looks at it directly without protection. The retina is the delicate lining at the back of the eye that contains layers of light-sensitive nerve cells used for seeing. Retinal burns cause a temporary or permanent vision loss based on the degree of exposure. Light-induced retinal injuries can occur without any feeling of pain and the effects of the injuries may not appear for at least several hours after the damage is done.
Please note here is no safe time to view this eclipse event with the naked eye in our geographical location. The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters such as eclipse glasses. It is unsafe to view the eclipse using your sunglasses, color film, black and white film, medical x-ray films with images on them, smoked glass, photographic neutral density filters and polarizing filters. There are four manufacturers that have certified eclipse glasses and hand-held solar viewers to meet the standards Eclipse viewing glasses can be purchased inexpensively through many sources. We have a limited supply of solar viewing glasses for our patients available after July 26th, 2017. Please inquire at the front desk of any of our locations.
You may download the American Astronomial Safe Viewing Guide here.
You can also find links to purchasing viewing glasses at the sites below or by searching amazon.com for ISO certified solar viewing glasses
Learn more about safe viewing by visiting the American Optometric Association information page or the American Astronomical Society eclipse information page.
Another great source of information is through NASA’s official eclipse information page. You can find transit maps and other interesting information.