For many children, August 21st will be an exciting, action-packed day. Not only is it the first day of school but also the day of an astronomical phenomenon—a solar eclipse. Though it may be difficult to resist the temptation of staring right at the eclipse, it’s important to know that this can cause permanent eye injury. So, parents, here’s a quick tutorial for the family on how to protect your eyes in a solar eclipse.
Protecting Your Eyes in a Solar Eclipse is as Simple as 1-2-3
#1: Never look directly at the sun during a solar eclipse. Doing so can cause solar retinopathy, or retinal burns. This is also known as “eclipse blindness.” If anyone experiences distorted vision, altered color vision, or loss of central vision, take them to an eye doctor or the emergency room as soon as possible.
#2: If you want to take a sneak peek at the solar eclipse, use a safe tool like welder’s glass or a pinhole projection. However, make sure you guide older kids on how to properly prepare and use these tools. If you have little kids, you may want to play it extra safe by watching the eclipse with them on TV or at a planetarium—being that it’ll be difficult to prevent them from looking up or following safety instructions.
#3: Do not use a smartphone, camera, or other optical devices to view the eclipse. Not only can a solar eclipse damage your smartphone camera, but it can also damage your eyes while trying to guide the camera toward its direction. You can also cause injury to your eyes by looking through the optical viewfinder of a camera—just like you would if you were looking directly at the sun. This also goes for binoculars, telescopes, and most optical devices.