Health Care

Eclipse viewing safety on "This Week"

Eclipse viewing safety on

"I think the biggest thing to know is that you can potentially hurt your eyes if you watch the solar eclipse without protective eyewear", said Dr. Kimberly Stepien, a retina specialist with UW Health. Leonard permanently lost some vision in his right eye.

You may remember taking a magnifying glass outside as a kid on a sunny day and burning a hole in a leaf or starting a small fire.

Dr. Stepien also recommends checking to make sure there are no scratches, holes or damage to the solar filters on protective eyewear.

You will also need to use solar filter on cameras, binoculars and telescopes and don't use eclipse glasses to look through them.

Do not remove glasses or filter while still looking at the sun.

Solar eclipse glasses are available online and at retail stores, but it is very important to make sure they are certified to protect your vision.

Northern San Luis Obispo County (Cambria, Paso Robles) will see the moon cover 67-percent of the sun. As soon as the sun begins to reappear, use your viewer to watch the rest of the eclipse. "It's very exciting for them and they want to take the eye protection off". Watching the eclipse will be a memorable experience, but please don't let it be ruined by not following the safety protocols for viewing this incredible event.

"It's so unsafe for people to look at the sun even for brief periods of time because you can cause permanent damage to the retina - we call it solar retinopathy and it's really very close to burning a hole in the retina". Even the darkest sunglasses are not enough. They will indicate they are "ISO 12312-2" compliant somewhere on the glasses. "Please use good judgment and make this experience for you and your family, one that will never be forgotten".

Eclipse glasses are relatively cheap anywhere from $3 to around $10, but be sure the glasses are specifically made to handle the concentration of light. Find an event at a local planetarium, science center or club.

There have been reports of people becoming legally blind in at least one eye after watching eclipses, Van Gelder said.

People interested in watching the eclipse should take necessary precautions to protect their vision so they can enjoy the next solar eclipse in the central United States on April 8, 2024.



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