Solar Eclipse and Eye Safety

The countdown is on for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017!

We are all excited to witness this spectacle, but must consider how it can affect our eyes if left unprotected.

Grady’s Chief of Ophthalmology, Dr. Yousuf Khalifa, says looking directly at the solar eclipse without proper eye wear can cause solar retinopathy, in which UV radiation damages the retina and can lead to permanent vision loss.

If you have not bought the correct eye wear, please be advised that eye complications cannot be avoided by using ordinary sunglasses, a camera lens or homemade filters.

Follow these steps to safely view the solar eclipse:  

  • The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as “eclipse glasses” or hand-held solar viewers. Look for this certification on the inside of your glasses: “ISO 12312-2”
  • The only time it is safe to look directly at the sun without protection is during a total eclipse. Atlanta will experience only a partial eclipse, therefore it is not safe to remove eye wear at any point while looking at the sun
  • Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device—even if you are wearing eclipse glasses or a solar viewer at the same time. Your eyes can still be damaged.
  • Inspect solar filters before use. Do not use if scratched or damaged
  • Before looking up at the sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter—do not remove it while looking at the sun.

Beware of bogus eye glasses using false certifications or logos. The American Astronomical Society has some tips on where to get ISO-compliant solar filters and eclipse glasses- https://eclipse.aas.org/resources/solar-filters

Let’s enjoy this natural phenomenon safely!