On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of the United States will have a solar eclipse. The moon will cover at least part of the sun for 2 to 3 hours. Halfway through, anyone within a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina will experience a brief total eclipse. The moon will completely block the sun’s bright face for up to 2 minutes 40 seconds. Day will turn into night, and (weather permitting) one of nature’s most awesome sights will become visible: the sun’s shimmering outer atmosphere, or corona. The American Optometric Association, in partnership with the American Astronomical Society, is providing detailed information so that you can safely view the eclipse.
Here are four ways to safely view a solar eclipse:
- Use approved solar eclipse viewers. The only safe way to view a partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or viewers that meet international standard ISO 12312-2 for safe viewing. Sunglasses, smoked glass, unfiltered telescopes or magnifiers, and polarizing filters are unsafe. If you can’t find eclipse viewers, build a pinhole projector to watch the eclipse.
- Technique of the pros. Before looking at the sun, cover your eyes with the eclipse viewers while standing still. Glance at the sun, turn away and then remove your filter. Do not remove the filter while looking at the sun.
- Totality awesome. Only within the path of totality-and once the moon completely blocks the sun-can eclipse viewers safely be removed to view totality. Once the sun begins reappearing, however, viewers must be replaced.
- Visit your doctor of optometry. If you should experience discomfort or vision problems following the eclipse, visit your local doctor of optometry for a comprehensive eye examination.
Viewing the Eclipse in Duvall
Viewing the eclipse from Duvall will be within the 90th percentile of the path of totality (see in map below)
Start: 9:09am – The Moon touches the Sun’s edge
Max: 10:21am – Moon is closest to the center of the Sun
End: 11:39am – The Moon leaves the Sun’s edge.
Duvall Advanced Family Eyecare has a limited number of eclipse glasses – stop in and get a pair while we have them!
(one per family)
The AOA strongly recommends using special-purpose solar filters or other ISO-certified filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers, to view the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun [outside the 70-mile path].
If your eyes are exposed to excessive amounts of ultraviolet radiation over a short period of time, such as during the eclipse, you could experience photokeratitis, essentially a sunburn of the eye. Symptoms include red eyes, a foreign body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light, and excessive tearing.
Unless you take proper precautions, looking directly at the sun during a partial eclipse can also cause solar retinopathy, which can result in permanent damage to your eyes. This is caused by light from the sun flooding the retina on the back of the eyeball. This exposure to solar radiation on the retina causes damage to its light-sensitive rod and cone cells by igniting a series of complex chemical reactions within the cells.
How long would you have to look at the sun to go blind?
Length of time doesn’t matter. Even looking directly at the sun for a short duration can actually burn the retina. Eye damage, including solar retinopathy—a serious injury in which the eye’s retina is damaged by solar radiation—and photokeratitis can all occur while viewing an eclipse, and injuries can be temporary or permanent. If one is worried that accidental exposure has occurred, they should visit a local doctor of optometry.
Just a few seconds can cause damage.
Is there normally a spike in eye-related injuries after a solar eclipse?
It’s been 99 years since a coast-to-coast eclipse. I think that people will see the advice and professional guidance widespread throughout the media and will hopefully take our advice into consideration and take the necessary precautions while viewing the eclipse.
What should people do if they think they have damaged their eyes during the eclipse?
If you are exposed to the sun during an eclipse and think there is potentially something wrong, it is best to visit a doctor of optometry immediately to ensure there is no serious or permanent damage. Since damage can occur without any sensation of pain, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What is the best way, in your professional opinion, of watching the eclipse?
The only safe way, and therefore the best way, to directly view the eclipsed or partially eclipsed sun [outside the 70-mile path] is through special-purpose solar filters or other ISO-certified filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or handheld solar viewers.
Also, be sure to follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter, and inspect your filter before use to ensure it isn’t damaged or scratched. The AOA encourages ordering solar eclipse glasses in advance and recommends referring to the American Astronomical Society’s site for a list of manufacturers.
How to Tell If Your Eclipse Glasses Are Unsafe
Some eclipse glasses producers have been printing fake labels claiming the products are ISO-certified, and even providing fake test results online for their glasses. Because of this, AAS released more-comprehensive rules for finding out if your eclipse glasses are safe.
For one, if the glasses are manufactured or sold by companies on AAS’s reputable vendors list, the organization has double-checked all paperwork to make sure the glasses are actually ISO-certified. [The Best ISO-Certified Gear to See the 2017 Solar Eclipse]
If you’re unsure of the glasses’ origin, or if their vendor is not on the list, there are still a few ways to tell if they might be unsafe. Safe eclipse glasses should be extremely dark, the AAS said: Viewers should not be able to see anything through them besides the sun itself, and the sun shouldn’t be too bright.
“If you can see ordinary household lights through your eclipse glasses or handheld viewer, it’s no good. Safe solar filters produce a view of the sun that is comfortably bright (like the full moon), in focus and surrounded by black sky. If you glance at the sun through your solar filter and find it uncomfortably bright, out of focus and surrounded by a murky haze, it’s [the viewer is] no good.” -AAS