Health News

Solar eclipse: Eye health warning

A total solar eclipse—when the moon completely covers the sun—will be visible from coast to coast on August 21, 2017. This amazing event lasts only about 2 minutes and is safe to watch, but the partial eclipse that happens before and after can permanently damage your vision. 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 and parts of North and Central America will experience a partial solar eclipse. 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 Sun in Your Eyes

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.

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