Next week, all eyes will be on the sky as Hoosiers witness a partial solar eclipse. It’s a rare event many people want to take in, but if you don’t protect yourself, you could put your eyes at risk for some long-term damage.
It’s simple. Don’t look up with your eyes uncovered. And no, sunglasses won’t help you either, in fact they could be worse.
“It could be permanent damage on your retina. It could potentially scar and burn your retina just like a sunburn on your skin. If it’s bad enough, it could be permanent and cause permanent vision loss, so people need to take it pretty seriously,” said optometrist Nick Feipel of Busby Eyecare Optometrist.
Sometimes you won’t notice the damage until a few hours later. Blurred vision, a spot in your vision, or straight lines that appear wavy. Worst case scenario would be permanent vision loss.
“Sometimes oral steroids can be used. There’s not, to be quite honest, there’s not a lot of treatment for this permanent damage,” Feipel said.
So yes, all of that sounds pretty scary so let’s avoid that by getting certified solar eclipse glasses. Not knockoffs like the glasses sold by some vendors on Amazon, which have now been removed. Make sure your glasses meet the worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2.
“When you get the glasses, make sure that when you’re looking through them that everything is completely black. You’re not going to be able to see anything through the glasses. The only thing you’re going to be able to see is when you put them on the sun it’s going to look like a little orange or yellowish ball,” Feipel said.
So doctors say don’t be brave or careless and not listen to these warnings, you only get one set of eyes that are depending on you to take in the solar eclipse wisely.
“$3 to make sure you can view a great celestial event and ensure you don’t have any permanent damage, I think is a pretty good investment.” Feipel said.
For a full list of reputable companies selling solar eclipse glasses click here.
Also, there’s a do it yourself method you can also use to view the eclipse safely, it’s what people used back in the day called a pinhole viewer you make with products you have at home. Here’s a video to show you how to create your own solar eclipse viewing device.