• Comment

Tips for safe eclipse viewing

Posted: August 16, 2017 - 1:13am  |  Updated: August 17, 2017 - 9:11am
Dr. Casey Roland, optometrist at Specs Eyeglasses in Evans
Dr. Casey Roland, optometrist at Specs Eyeglasses in Evans

Dr. Casey Roland, Optometrist at Specs Eyeglasses in Evans offers a series of safety tips for viewing the eclipse Aug. 21.

Make sure you have the proper eyeware; everyday sunglasses are not eclipse-safe.

They have to be ISO-certified, ISO 12312-2. That's an international standard that certifies that the glasses are safe.

You always want to check the filters and make sure that there's no damage to them, such as being scratched or torn. Usually, if they are certified glasses they are going to have instructions printed on the temple side of the glasses.

Some of the cheap glasses that people buy over the counter are fine, and they do protect, but there is no way to know unless you are buying from a reputable dealer. There is a little ISO logo, and if you go online, you can Google how to tell if your eclipse goggles are certified. I was looking online, and there are definitely some counterfeit ones out there.

Only the certified eclipse glasses are OK for the eclipse. Regular sunglasses are nowhere near strong enough to block out the UV and radiation from the eclipse.

Children should be supervised.

With kids, you have to supervise them. You want to make sure that before ever looking at the sun, you are going to turn your head away and shield your eyes and put your glasses on, then have a look at it. And the same thing, when you go to look away, you want to turn your head away before you take your glasses off. You don't want to take the eclipse glasses off while you're staring at the sun. That would defeat the purpose.

Don't look at the eclipse through a camera or smartphone.

The other thing that people need to be careful about are cameras and iPhones and things like that. You have to have a filter on your camera or phones. Some people think that if they have a filter and their eclipse glasses on, that they can look at the phone and be safe, but you can't. It will concentrate the light and it will still damage your eyes.

Staring at the eclipse can cause temporary and permanent damage.

There are two things that could happen. One of them is photokeratitis, which is like sunburn of your cornea, which is kind of the outermost lens of the eye, and that is usually temporary. Some symptoms of that would be your eyes getting really red, tearing, you have a foreign body in your eye sensation, you are really light-sensitive. That type of thing is really irritating at first, and over the next few days it will tend to go back to normal.

Mostly, that is usually from tanning bed-type incidents and those people are usually generally very uncomfortable, usually just a few days of discomfort, and their vision returns to normal.

If it is going to heal, it just takes a little bit of time; however, there is just no way to know right off the bat if you would be the lucky one to heal or if it could be more permanant damage.

The biggest concern is what's called solar retinopathy.

The retina is the back part of the eye and the thermal rays from the sun can damage the retina. It can damage the rods and cones in the back of your eyes, and this could be permanant. It could lead to blurred vision.You could have little blind spots in your visual field like color changes.

If you were to develop solar retinopathy, your retina wouldn't experience pain, so you would not be able to tell as you're damaging it. "Oh, well it doesn't hurt, so I'm just going to keep staring." So that's kind of an issue, too, that gives people a false sense of security.

Onlookers may be tempted to look at the eclipse without proper eyeware. Don't do it.

In general, other than during an eclipse, we all know not to look at the sun. But during the eclipse it's kind of like, "Oh, let's look at the sun." That's kind of the problem with the eclipse versus on a normal day.

Keep eyes healthy with routine eye protection and exams.

In general, on a daily basis, wearing a good-quality pair of sunglasses that blocks 100 percent of the UVA and UVB rays from the sun is very important for eye health. It decreases the risk for cataracts and macular degeneration and from getting cancers in and around your eyes.

Annual eye exams can hopefully catch any issues before they become major. No smoking and good nutrition, are also important.

 

 

  • Comment