Atlanta, TX— On August 21, a total solar eclipse will touch the U.S. mainland for the first time since 1979, following a path that crosses the country from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Tens of millions of people who live within a 70-mile radius of its cross-country track will witness the eclipse in totality (the sun completely blocked by the moon) while millions of others outside of it will enjoy a partial eclipse. The American Optometric Association (AOA), America’s family eye doctors, is urging Americans to view the eclipse with proper eye protection to avoid any temporary or permanent eye damage from the sun.
Solar Eclipse Safety Tips from the AOA
- Get centered and enjoy the view. Within the path of totality, you can safely witness the two or more minutes when the moon completely covers the sun with the naked eye. Otherwise, your eyes should always be protected by verified viewing tools. Never look directly at the sun without eye protection, even briefly. Visit aas.org to access eclipse duration charts.
- Know your duration. Outside of the path of totality, always use solar filters. O.D.s want to reinforce that the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters or other ISO-certified filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers. The AOA encourages ordering solar eclipse glasses in advance and recommends referring to the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) site for a list of manufacturers.
- Be aware of harmful solar exposure. If you stare at the sun without protection, you may experience damage to your retina (the tissue at the back of your eye) called “solar retinopathy.” This damage can occur without any sensation of pain, since the retina does not have pain receptors. The injury can be temporary or permanent. Visit your local doctor of optometry immediately if an accident occurs.
- Visit your doctor of optometry. Check in with Family Eye Care Clinic for information about safely viewing the eclipse. If you experience any problems with your eyes or vision after the eclipse, their office will be able to provide you with the medical care you need.
To access additional information and educational materials on the solar eclipse, visit aoa.org/2017eclipse.
Solar Eclipse in North East Texas
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks any part of the sun. The 1st total eclipse to touch the US mainland since 1979 and the 1st coast to coast since 1918. The next solar eclipse in the US will occur April,8 2024.
We will be able to see a partial eclipse in North East Texas with around 80% of the sun being blocked at around 1:15 PM. This means that 20% of the sun will still be exposed and puts all of us at HIGH risk of permanent eye damage and blindness if we look at the sun without proper protection.
The condition is called solar retinopathy, and it occurs when bright light from the sun floods the retina on the back of the eyeball. The retina is home to the light-sensing cells that make vision possible. When they’re over-stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage is often painless, so people don’t realize what they’re doing to their vision. Even quick glances can still damage your eyes.
According to NASA, the ONLY safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed of partially eclipsed Sun is through special purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses”, hand held solar viewers, or #14 welding glass. Eclipse glasses must be certified to meet the ISO 12312-2 international standards to be safe to look directly at the Sun, This certification will be printed on the inside of the glasses.
Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device. Even if you’re wearing eclipse glasses.
Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are NOT safe for looking at the Sun. Good rule of thumb is to NEVER look directly at the sun! Keep those eyes safe. Don’t even try and layer your sunglasses. Looking directly at the sun during the eclipse without proper eyewear will harm your eyes “ just like a magnifying glass on a leaf,”
Most welding filter are not dark enough to protect your eyes so if you have an old welder’s hat around the house make sure you know the filter’s shade number. If it’s less than 12 (and it probably is) don’t even think about using it.
Isn’t the safety issue a bit overblown? Absolutely not! You only have one pair of eyes and you need to protect them.
A solar eclipse is one of nature’s greatest spectacles. By following simple rules and using common sense you can safely enjoy the view.