Since the dawn of history, mankind has been fascinated by the sun. The sun is the power behind life. Without it the plants would not grow, there would be no light, there would be no seasons, there would be no warmth, and life as we know it would cease to exist. It is for this reason that solar eclipses have been sources of excitement, awe, reverence, and fear throughout the millenniums. Although modern science has taken some of the superstitions out of the solar eclipse, it is still an event that excites the world.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon blocks part of the sun from our view here on earth. The entire solar eclipse may take a few hours from start to finish. There are only going to be a few minutes when the moon completely blocks out the sun. Daylight vanishes and the sky has what appears to be a deep twilight. Probably one of the most amazing parts of a solar eclipse is when the moon sits right in front of the sun and its corona appears. At that moment, the stars light up the night sky.
It is more than understandable that people are excited to see a solar eclipse. However, looking at the sun directly, even during a solar eclipse, can seriously and permanently damage your eyes. If you stare at the sun without having the right eye protection, you could find yourself dealing with a form of blindness called solar retinopathy. The only safe way for you to look at the sun, whether there is an eclipse or not, is by using eclipse glasses or by using handheld solar viewers.
One mistake that people make is thinking that ordinary sunglasses, especially if they’re very dark, are safe to use when looking at the sun. They’re not.
If you are going to enjoy a solar eclipse, take the following steps into consideration:
– Carefully review the filter or eclipse glasses you are using and check for any scratches or damage.
– Familiarize yourself with the instructions on how to use a solar filter or eclipse glasses, and make sure that children are supervised during their use.
There is only a brief moment that you can look at the sun without your solar viewer, and that is when the sun is completely eclipsed. For those few minutes, you can remove your glasses and look at the sun, but you need to put them back on immediately as the moon continues to move on.
There was a total eclipse that could be seen from Indonesia in 2016. On August 21, 2017, North America will experience a total eclipse.
You can always count on us at Live Oak Ophthalmology to keep you in the know regarding all things eye safety. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in Wilmington to learn more about your eye health!