Solar Eclipse Eye Safety Tips

Apr 3, 2024

As excitement builds for the solar eclipse on April 8, were thrilled to guide fellow stargazers in Columbus, Ohio. In our city, catch an impressive 99% totality, or venture a bit north for the magical 100%. At Columbus Laser & Cataract Center, were here to help you navigate this cosmic event, ensuring eye safety.

What is a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon aligns between the Earth and the Sun. This temporarily conceals sunlight and casts a captivating shadow, transforming daylight to twilight.

Total solar eclipse: A rare phenomenon 

This upcoming total solar eclipse is an extraordinary alignment where the Moon perfectly blocks the Sun’s light, causing momentary darkness. Total solar eclipses are rare, occurring globally every 18 months—witnessing one in a specific location is even rarer.

Key features of a total solar eclipse:

  • Total darkness (totality): The sun’s disk is entirely obscured, creating a temporary state of darkness.
  • Path of totality: A narrow strip on Earth that offers a unique spectacle of a total eclipse. Outside this path, observers witness a partial solar eclipse.
  • Duration and frequency: Total solar eclipses are globally infrequent, occurring every 18 months. The path of totality is even rarer, offering a unique viewing opportunity once every few hundred years.
  • Safe viewing: Proper eye protection, like certified solar viewing glasses, is crucial to prevent eye damage from intense sunlight.

How to safely view the solar eclipse:

While the allure is undeniable, eye protection is imperative to prevent severe damage or even vision loss. Here’s how to safely observe the solar eclipse:

  • Solar viewing glasses: Invest in certified solar viewing glasses meeting the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard, such as these. These glasses block harmful ultraviolet, visible, and infrared radiation, ensuring safe observation. 
  • Solar filters for devices: If you plan to use telescopes or binoculars, ensure they are equipped with solar filters. Never look through these optical devices without the proper filters, as they intensify sunlight and can cause irreparable harm to your eyes.
  • Pinhole projectors: An alternative safe method is to create a pinhole projector. This simple device projects an image of the Sun onto a surface, allowing you to view the eclipse indirectly. Follow this video for instructions on how to make your own pinhole projector.

Risks of unprotected viewing

Failure to take precautions during a solar eclipse can result in serious eye damage. It’s never safe to look directly at the sun, even during partial phases. Remove protective glasses only when the sun is entirely blocked.

As the solar eclipse unfolds, prepare and protect your eyes. At Columbus Laser & Cataract Center, we prioritize your vision. Follow the recommended safety guidelines, invest in proper eye protection, and marvel at the wonders of the universe without compromising your eye health. The universe’s beauty is best observed when your vision remains clear and unharmed.