Staring at the sun during the eclipse can damage your eyes. Here’s how to protect your vision.
by K. Janis Esch The Southern
Under normal circumstances, most people know better than to stare directly into the sun. But an unusual astronomical phenomenon like this summer’s eclipse can make it easy to forget one’s instincts.
On Aug. 21, a total solar eclipse will travel across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. Viewers along the 70-mile-wide “path of totality” will see day turn to night for around two minutes.
Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, PhD., chair of the department of ophthalmology at University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle and clinical spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, has treated patients who have damaged their vision by looking at the sun.
“We have sort of an aversion to the brightness of sunlight, so most people won’t spontaneously look at the sun for very long,” said Van Gelder. “But we can overcome that if we’re so motivated, and the eclipse is really the classic example, because that gives people a reason to look at the sun and they fixate on the sun.”
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