What is Eclipse Blindness, Also Known as Solar Retinopathy?
Although this anticipated astronomical event is very exciting, it can also be extremely harmful to your vision unless proper precautions are taken before viewing. We all know that you should never look directly at the sun. But even during an eclipse, the sun’s light can cause permanent damage to the eyes which is referred to as “eclipse blindness” or solar retinopathy. Exposure to direct sunlight can cause permanent and irreversible damage to the retina. The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye on the inside. Light rays are focused onto the retina through the cornea, pupil and lens. The retina then converts the light into neural signals, and sends these signals on to the brain for visual recognition.
Take Precautions for Safe Viewing
So how do you safely watch this wonder? The safest way is to view the eclipse through solar filter glasses that meet the worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2. These solar glasses must be in perfect condition with no scratches, and should be less than three years old. The only time that you can safely look at the sun without a solar filter is if you are within the path of totality, and the moon completely covers the bright surface of the sun and it suddenly gets dark. As soon as the sun begins to reappear, you must immediately use the solar filter again to watch the remaining phase of the eclipse. When viewing the eclipse from other areas outside of the 70-mile totality range, it is not safe to look at the sun at any point with the naked eye. It is also important to remember to never view an eclipse through an unfiltered telescope, camera, or binoculars, as this can cause severe permanent retinal damage as well. Make certain to educate and supervise small children, as young eyes are more susceptible to vision damage.
READ MORE about the Great American Eclipse of 2017 and solar retinopathy at PRweb.com