Geriatrician, Hospitalist, Patient Advocate, Healthcare Educator

Practice Safety During the Solar Eclipse

Photo by Jongsun Lee

The Great North American Solar Eclipse is coming on Monday, April 8, 2024. While there is much excitement and planning taking place with some people even traveling to areas of totality to experience this event, it is first and foremost important to practice safety. Keep in mind that looking at this total solar eclipse, untraviolet and infrared solar rays can cause direct serious, permanent eye damage to the retina. Some of the vision changes that can occur are blurry vision, headache, a blind spot in the central vision, sensitivity to light, changes in color perception, and distorted vision.

Here are some safety tips:

  • Safest way is to avoid looking at the sun directly and instead viewing it indirectly, either through a pinhole projector, colander, or on a television or computer screen
  • If you do plan to watch the solar eclipse directly, use specially designed eclipse glasses. Eclipse glasses must comply with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 12312-2 standard. They screen out 99.99 percent of the light, about a thousand times the blockage of standard sunglasses. Do not use damaged eclipse glasses with scratches or tears.
  • Find a safe place to watch the eclipse
  • Have headlights on while driving during the eclipse and beware of vehicles that may be pulled over on the side of the road to watch
  • NASA advices against looking at the sun through regular sunglasses, camera lens, telescope, or binoculars with eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers as the concentrated solar rays will burn through the filter and cause serious eye injury
  • Remember to protect your skin-wear sunscreen, protective clothing/hats