You Won't Know You're Hurting Your Eyes Til Later

Everyone's scrambling for solar eclipse glasses ahead of Monday's event.  

I found mine in Southern Illinois (picked them up on vacation).  They are ISO certified, and that's important.  

The thing you need to know is that you can do PERMANENT damage to your eyes and you won't even know you're doing it... damage can happen without pain.  The symptoms may show up a few days later.  

Take the time to read this statement from the Mobile County Health Department on what can happen if you don't use the right viewing equipment:

"A total solar eclipse — when the moon completely covers the sun — will be visible from coast to coast on Monday, August 21. This amazing event lasts only about two minutes and is safe to watch, but the partial eclipse that happens before and after can permanently damage your vision. Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, Health Officer for Mobile County, reminds residents to use proper eye protection for safe viewing.

In a 70-mile wide band from central Oregon through South Carolina, a total eclipse of the sun will be visible across the entire continental United States for the first time in almost 40 years. The rest of the nation — such as at the Alabama Gulf Coast — and parts of North and Central America will experience a partial solar eclipse. Dr. Eichold said without special eye protection, viewing a partial eclipse can cause vision loss, even permanent blindness. But, with proper eyewear or a solar viewer, you can safely enjoy this sight of the century.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said looking directly at the sun without the correct eye protection, even for a short time, can cause permanent damage to your retinas, a light-sensitive part of the eye that transmits what you see to your brain. Damage can occur without pain, and it can take a few hours or even a few days after viewing the eclipse to have symptoms of damage, which include not being able to see colors as well and loss of central vision, with only side vision remaining. If you notice any symptoms after viewing the solar eclipse, seek immediate help from your eye care professional.

The only way to look directly at the sun when it’s not eclipsed or is only partly eclipsed is with a special solar filter, such as eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer. Goggles, homemade filters, or sunglasses, even very dark ones, will not protect your eyes. Also, always avoid looking at the sun through an unfiltered camera, smartphone, telescope, or any other optical device. You’ll need to add a certified solar filter to these devices to safely look at the sun.

Eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers are inexpensive and can be purchased from many retailers in Mobile County. However, not all meet the required ISO 12312-2 international safety standards; make sure yours do. Even if your eclipse glasses meet the safety standards, don’t use them if the lenses are scratched, wrinkled or are older than three years.

You can also make your own simple and inexpensive pinhole projector to safely view the eclipse. Be sure to follow instructions carefully, and never look at the sun through the pinhole.

The total solar eclipse begins near Lincoln City, Oregon, at 10:15 a.m. PDT (12:15 p.m. CDT). Totality ends at 1:48 p.m. CDT near Charleston, South Carolina. The partial eclipse will start earlier and end later, but the total eclipse itself will take about one hour and 40 minutes to cross the country."

Oh, and for the record?  It's really hard to take a selfie with eclipse glasses...



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