Staring at the Sun Can Blind | How to Safely Watch Solar Eclipse

Protect Your Vision | How to Safely View Solar Eclipse | Burlington County Eye PhysiciansStaring at the sun can blind you.  Looking directly at the sun can permanently damage your eyes.  It is never safe to directly look at the sun, even during an eclipse.  Staring directly at the sun, without special filters or glasses, can permanently damage your retina.

Great American Eclipse 2017

The next solar eclipse visible across North America will occur on August 21, 2017.  Many will travel to the path of totality to experience a total eclipse of the sun, where the moon will totally block the sun for a few minutes (up to 2 minutes 40 seconds).  

Those within the 70 mile wide path will experience a deep twilight sky as the sun’s light becomes blocked.  The rest of the continent will experience a partial eclipse of the sun.

Never look directly at the sun or an eclipse without having equipment specifically designed for looking at the sun.  Use of binoculars or telescopes not equipped with special solar filters can permanently damage your eyes and even cause blindness.  Use proper solar filters to protect your eyesight.

The eclipse will sweep across the United States creating a path of totality extending from Oregon to South Carolina (traveling west to east).  The last solar eclipse was in March, 2016 where a path of totality could be seen in Indonesia.  The next solar eclipse will occur in South America in July, 2019.

Sun Gazing Causes Blindness

Solar retinopathy can occur when directly gazing at the sun or when viewing an eclipse.  The sun’s light can directly damage the macula resulting in permanent blind spots in or near your central vision.  There is no cure for solar retinopathy.

How to View a Solar Eclipse

There is only one way to directly look at the sun or eclipse without damaging your eyesight.  As recommended by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Astronomical Society, the use of special solar filters, ISO 12312-2, can prevent blindness from solar retinopathy.  

These filters are used in “eclipse glasses” and handheld solar viewers.  These special filters are many thousands of times darker than ordinary sunglasses.  Here is a link to well- known telescope and solar-filter companies that manufacture eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers.  

A “pinhole camera” is a safe and fun way to indirectly view the sun or an eclipse.  You will not need any fancy glasses or filters and you probably already have the necessary materials at home.

Call us to make an appointment or Email Us!!

We look forward to seeing you.

Gregory Scimeca, M.D.
Ophthalmologist and Medical Director

Burlington County Eye Physicians
Eye Professionals, LLC (Millville, NJ)
Eye Physicians and Surgeons of Bucks County (Langhorne, PA)