Eclipse Eye SafetyJune 21st, 2017
The solar eclipse path of totality will be passing through Nebraska on August 21, 2017. While all experts agree that eye safety is important when viewing the eclipse, there is confusion about what can happen to the eyes and what are the best methods to observe this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
The radiation during a solar eclipse can cause both temporary burns and permanent damage to the retina in the back of the eye. Because there are no nerve endings in the retina, people often don’t even realize that they have sustained damage because they don’t feel any pain. Studies show that the people who most often sustain retinal burns are children and young adults.
“The solar radiation from the sun during an eclipse event is just as strong as any other time,” says Dr. Brian Brightman from EyeCare Specialties. “But it is more dangerous, because the sun doesn’t appear to be as bright. We could be tempted to look at it for a longer time.”
The only safe way to view the eclipse is through eyewear specifically designed for that purpose. Look for glasses with the number that meets the ISO 12312-2 international standard for such products. Welder glasses #14 can also be used to view the eclipse. Regular sunglasses are not adequate for viewing the eclipse, even those with polarized lenses or extremely dark lenses, as they can still allow dangerous radiation to reach the retina.
It is also not safe to view the eclipse through just the lens of a camera or a telescope. There are special filters available to do so, however they should only be used under the advice of experts.