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Friday, August 18, 2017

Stay Safe When Viewing Solar Eclipse

Robert Josephberg, MD, Chief of Retina at Westchester Medical Center offers these tips to keep solar eclipse-viewers safe

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On Monday, August 21, the Hudson Valley will experience a partial solar eclipse.

Just as looking at the sun for 10-20 minutes on an average day without eye protection or pointing a laser in your eye for 10 seconds can cause irreparable damage, even a split second looking directly at the sun during the solar eclipse is too long. Without proper protection, looking directly at the solar eclipse can cause permanent vision loss.

The sun is an intense light source and an eclipse intensifies that light, which can cause thermal burns and damage to the retina. In this case, the sun is acting almost like a laser and creating a fine, intense burn.

Robert Josephberg, MD, Chief of Retina at Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network, offers these tips to keep solar eclipse-viewers safe:

1.       Only use certified eclipse glasses. Certified glasses filter out wavelengths of light and are dark to the point where you can barely see through them at all. Regular, off the shelf or over the counter sunglasses ARE NOT adequate and will not protect your eyes from the sun during the eclipse.

2.       Don’t even peek.  Removing your certified eclipse glasses for even a second can cause permanent damage and vision loss to both eyes.

3.       Don’t use cameras, cell phones, or telescopic devices to observe the eclipse, as they could cause permanent damage to your phone or device. The camera can absorb the energy that’s an intense light through the phone, causing permanent damage. 

4.       Children are more prone to damage in their retinas than adults, but looking directly at the sun – and especially at the eclipse – is dangerous for people of all age.

5.       Have fun, enjoy the show, and keep your eclipse glasses on while viewing the eclipse!