Unprotected Viewing of Solar Eclipse Could Hurt Your Eyes

North Americans get treated to a solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. It's the first of our kind since 1979 and it's going to be quite a spectacle. Anyone in the viewing path should practice safe seeing and make sure they wear solar eclipse viewing glasses or use another form of protection. Any prolonged viewing, without proper protection, could result in damage to your eyes. You wouldn't stare at the sun on a regular day, so don't do it on August 21st either. Solar eclipse or not, any longterm viewing of the sun could always risk damage to your eyes.

There's a few ways to protect your sensitive eyes from getting damaged by the sun. The first means of protection is hiding in your home with the lights off. Stay in the corner with your eyes closed. Don't even look outside! If you do that, then someone might need to provide you with a psychological evaluation. The real way to protect your eyes is to buy a pair of solar eclipse viewing glasses. Keep in mind that these glasses are only safe if they are approved by the International Organization for Standardization. Any other glasses cannot be accounted for and are not guaranteed to be safe. I'm not even sure the approved glasses are 100% safe, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

If you find any glasses at the dollar store or Walmart, then avoid them like the plague. I can't imagine they would be safe and I don't recommend anyone to use them. There's several online outlets where people can buy approved solar eclipse viewing glasses and it's best to use Google search and your best judgement.

The solar eclipse will be quite a spectacle to see, but ONLY if you can see it safely.

According to NASA, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun Monday, Aug. 21. This is the first of its kind in the United States since 1979. Anyone within the path of totality can see a total solar eclipse, and observers outside this path will see a partial solar eclipse. NASA released the 2017 total solar eclipse path map to help viewers identify the amount of coverage that will be seen in their area. Viewers can also use the interactive solar eclipse Google map to find the type of eclipse that will be seen in a particular region.

"The best option to view an eclipse safely is to wear solar eclipse glasses approved by the International Organization for Standardization, which can be purchased from various online merchants," said Tyler A. Hall, M.D., assistant professor from the UAB School of Medicine's Department of Ophthalmology.

Standard sunglasses, regardless of ultraviolet markings, including UVA and UVB, will not provide enough protection for eclipse viewing due to the intensity of the rays. The sun's rays may be partially blocked during an eclipse, but the remaining visible rays are still intense enough to cause serious eye damage or even loss of vision. Protective eyewear should have an ISO 12312-2 marking on them to be considered safe for looking at the sun.

Everyone should be aware that your normal everyday sunglasses will NOT provide enough safety and protection for your eyes. Even a quick glance might pose the risk of damage to your lookers, so don't risk it.

Look up the safe and approved solar eclipse viewing glasses and invest in a pair. You can even get a free pair, if there's still some left, at participating public libraries across America. There's two million pairs available, so call your local branch and see if they have any left.

Public libraries across the United States will distribute more than 2 million pairs of free eclipse glasses to skywatchers for the total solar eclipse that will sweep over the country on Aug. 21, 2017. The glasses will be provided by a major outreach program initiated by the Space Science Institute (SSI).  

The so-called the Great American Eclipse will pass over the U.S. along a stretch of land from Oregon to South Carolina. Viewers in the path of totality, which spans about 70 miles (113 kilometers) wide, will see the moon directly pass in front of the sun, briefly turning day into twilight. Skywatchers outside that path will still see a partial eclipse, when part of the sun will still be in view. 

Remember to please practice safe seeing on August 21st, the date of the solar eclipse. Get your approved safe solar eclipse glasses and have fun.

A quick search on Amazon provided me with these results. I can't vouch for them, so it's up to you, the readers, to determine if they are the appropriate glasses approved for safe viewing.

View the solar eclipse at your own risk and have fun!