Doctors Warn Eclipse Viewers To Use Proper Equipment; Protect Eyes From Damaging Rays

Posted at 6:44 AM, Jul 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-28 08:06:29-04

On August 21, the sky will darken and we will witness a total solar eclipse but before you turn your eyes to the skies remember to use the proper equipment. 

Dr. Nathan Podoll is a Clinical Ophthalmologist at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute. He said before you turn your baby blues skyward, shield your eyes from potentially damaging rays.

"Even if a small sliver of the sun is exposed that direct solar light exposure can cause permanent damage to our eyes," said Dr. Podoll. 

To avoid any damage, Podoll said to start by looking down.

"You want to put on your glasses while directing your sight away from the sun. Then you would be able to look up and safely. You'll be able to see a very mild orange glow," he said. 

According NASA, eclipse viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers should meet specific standards.

They must have certification information with this designated ISO 12312-2 international standard, have the manufacturer's name and address printed somewhere on the product and not be used if they are older than three years. 

The American Astronomical Society has verified five manufacturers are making eclipse glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard: American Paper Optics, Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, Thousand Oaks Optical, and TSE 17.

If you don't have protective glasses you can also use a welders glass, specifically at shade #14. Do not view through any welding glass if it's not shade #14 or darker or if you do not know or cannot discern the shade number.

"You want to make sure your glasses are in good shape. They're not damaged or scratched. That you don't get small holes or damage or scratches in them," he said. 

Do not use homemade filters or substitute eclipse glasses with ordinary sunglasses because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun.