So, what happens if you look directly at the Solar Eclipse today? When viewing a solar eclipse, it is necessary to wear the proper safety glasses in order to protect your eyes from damage. But, how do you know you have the right protection? Rick Fienberg of the American Astronomical Society told FOX 8:
Filters that meet the ISO 12312-2 standard reduce the sun’s brightness to a safe and comfortable level, like that of a full moon, and block harmful ultraviolet and infrared radiation as well. Solar filters that meet this standard are about 100,000 times darker than ordinary sunglasses, and sunglasses don’t block infrared radiation.
It is important to beware of faulty or fake eye glasses being sold for the eclipse and FOX 8 reports:
To test for safety, the only thing you can see through a safe solar filter is the sun itself. If you look through and the sun is too bright, out of focus or surrounded by a murky haze, or if you can see things like ordinary household lights, the glasses aren’t safe.
Now that you understand the importance of the proper eyewear, let’s talk about why the eclipse can be dangerous to your eyes. Dr. Christopher Quinn, president of the American Optometric Association, told CNN that:
When you look directly at the sun, the intensity of the light and the focus of the light is so great on the retina that it can cook it. If the exposure is great enough, that can and will lead to permanent reduction in vision and even blindness … It’s really impossible for people, when they’re in the moment, to make a judgment over brief versus prolonged exposure. It’s never a good idea to view the eclipse without the protection.
Let’s say you have the idea to look at the eclipse through your camera or camera phone. You still need to wear your protective eyewear and optometrist Kelly O’Shea tells WKYT that:
If you are looking through a viewfinder in a camera, you are actually concentrating all that light onto your macula and really create a burn in the back of your eye.
The safest time to view the eclipse is when the sun is completely covered by the moon. This is the moment of totality.