Caution: The Solar Eclipse

This was found on Facebook (posted by our friend, Menagerie) and seems like good information to share.

Michael Schecter:

As an Optometrist , I want to express concern that I have about the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug 21. There are serious risks associated with viewing a solar eclipse directly, even with the use of solar filter glasses. Everyone should keep in mind if they or their children are considering this.

We have to keep in mind that some people will encounter the inability to control every aspect of this exercise. For instance, true solar eclipse glasses are made for adults, do not fit children well and should not be used without direct parental supervision. If the solar glasses do not filter out 100% of the harmful UV rays, if they are not used absolutely perfectly, or should there be a manufacturing defect in any of them, this will result in permanent and irreversible vision loss for any eye exposed. Just like sunburn to the skin, the effects are not felt or noticed immediately. I have a great fear that I will have patients in my office on Tuesday, Aug 22 who woke up with hazy, blurry vision that I cannot fix. It is a huge risk to watch the eclipse even with the use of solar glasses. There is no absolutely safe way to do so other than on TV.

The biggest danger with children is ensuring proper use without direct parental supervision. As the eclipse passes over many places, including Columbus, the moon will not block 100% of the sun. Because so much of its light is blocked by the moon, if one looks at it without full protection, it does not cause pain as looking at the sun does on a regular day. Normally if you try to look at the sun, it physically hurts and you can’t see anything. During an eclipse, however, it is easier to stare for a bit….and even less than 30 seconds of exposure to a partially eclipsed sun, you can burn a blind spot right to your most precious central vision. With solar glasses you can’t see ANYTHING except the crescent of light of the sun. Kids could have a tendency to want to peak [sic] around the filter to see what is actually going on up there. One failure, just one, where education and supervision fail, will have such a devastating consequence.

Please, please be safe. Watch it on television.

PS: Feel free to share this post.

This entry was posted in Hobbies & General Interest, News, The Culture, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

155 Responses to Caution: The Solar Eclipse

  1. Jacqueline Taylor Robson says:

    That is a worry! Here, in N.E.Georgia, they are keeping the schools open late. Mainly because of the traffic and no sun, but all of the schools are having “viewing events” to teach all of the kids about the solar system. It sounds to me like a really big mistake. Better to let the kids go home, and the parents be in charge of what is going on! I’m using a pinhole viewer. Easy to make yourself, and safer than looking at the sun. I just recently had cataract surgery, and go for another eye procedure in 4 weeks. I’ve worn glasses since I was 4 yo, and I know your sight is the most precious gift that God gave us. Stay safe, everyone!

    Liked by 8 people

  2. Col.(R) Ken says:

    A welders glass number 10 should do. my telescope has a solar filter and this is important; the solar filter fits on the End of the telescope! Do no use a telescope if you do not have a solar filter. Or if you have a solar filter for eyepieces, do not USED!!!! My filter is made by Meade……LX90
    Wal Mart does not carry replacement EYES…….

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Menagerie says:

    Reblogged this on The Last Refuge and commented:
    Be safe during the upcoming eclipse. A very good post from Stella on the topic. Take a moment to be sure you understand the danger possible, especially for children.

    Liked by 8 people

  4. MaryfromMarin says:

    Am sending this, and the CTH one, to twitter several times.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. hocuspocus13 says:

    ♦…on a magickal note

    Heart of the Lion

    The Solar Eclipse will also be a New Moon in Leo

    It will bring with it a bold time of confidence leading to long term success

    A brave yet generous mind that by whose successful challenge conquered and ruled to claim the throne with honor and wealth

    Proud and Confident the Lion left his unforgettable mark upon his foes

    And all the ambitious possibilities that are on the table will now become the anticipated beginnings of the new plans for the future for those brave of heart

    ♦If by some chance you are one of Donald Trump’s enemies you should by now be running for the Lion has entered the arena

    Liked by 6 people

  6. Travis McGee says:

    A welding hood with the proper lens would work great but I think she will be correct in her forecast that many people will be damaging their vision. Trump will probably get the blame.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Max says:

      Avoid the hoods that automatically darken, they often only go to 13 (welder’s goggles), you need 14. Also, they don’t work, sunlight will not cause them to darken.


  7. Big Jake says:

    I’m probably destined to be blind already because of my ViewMaster Viewer–lying on the grass in my backyard, clicking away while pointing it skyward to get some excellent sun-provided backlight. Oh well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Big Jake says:

    I also recall watching an eclipse as a reflection on folded paper. Do it just right and you can see the crescent moving along. I forgot the technique of course.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. DavidS says:

    I heard if using a welding Glass to use a 14 . you can buy at any welding supply house.. Harbor freight has an auto dim helet that is pretty cheap just make sure you get a #14 glass in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. DavidS says:

    Helmet .oops sry


  11. The Devilbat says:

    When I was about ten years old and living in England, there was a total eclipse. My teacher set up some kind of a telescope that projected a picture of the sun onto a piece of paper. She told us NOT to look at the sun as it could blind us. I was amazed at how good the picture of the sun was.

    Just prior to the eclipse, she took out a magnifying glass and focused the sunlight onto a piece of cardboard. The cardboard burst into flames. NO WAY were we kids going to look at the sun on that day! Miss Doy was a most wonderful teacher. I still have the book that I was awarded for being top of the class in the exams that year.

    Liked by 7 people

  12. Curry Worsham says:

    You can look directly at the sun for a couple of minutes when it is total. But NOT before or after. Don’t miss out on one of the greatest experiences of your life!


    • stella says:

      Because none of us are experts, why take a chance with your eyesight? It isn’t necessary.

      You won’t know if you have damaged your eyesight immediately, and if you have there is no remedy.

      Just like sunburn to the skin, the effects are not felt or noticed immediately. I have a great fear that I will have patients in my office on Tuesday, Aug 22 who woke up with hazy, blurry vision that I cannot fix. It is a huge risk to watch the eclipse even with the use of solar glasses. There is no absolutely safe way to do so other than on TV.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Debra E says:

        We are not experts on the sun and proper filtering and neither is the optometrist but NASA has a whole page of safety information on how to view the eclipse properly. There are only a handful of filtering glasses that are certified by NASA for this specific purpose.

        Liked by 1 person

        • hopmedic says:

          Exactly zero is the number of glasses certified by NASA. NASA is not in the glasses certifying business. They have issued a recommendation, stated on the page you linked to, that filters should meet an ISO standard (a standard not set by NASA).

          Liked by 1 person

          • stella says:

            I would call that a distinction without much of a difference, although it is correct.

            Liked by 1 person

            • hopmedic says:

              I think the distinction makes a big difference. If you search for “NASA certified,” you will find nothing but liars. Do you want to trust your eyes to them? Search the ISO.


              • stella says:

                Debra supplied a link to the NASA page. The NASA page contains a link to reputable vendors and provides the ISO certification number to look for. Your criticism is overdone. Really.

                Liked by 1 person

                • hopmedic says:

                  To quote you, “Relax and have a nice day. If that is the worst problem you have today, consider yourself fortunate.” Only trying to be helpful. Really.


          • Debra E says:

            Yes, you are right. Some are NASA approved, not certified. My point is that yes we should have an abundance of caution BUT it can still be viewed safely without fear and I just don’t want people to miss out on a spectacular event (especially if you can get to a point of 100% totality) for fear of harm. If you apply a combination of healthy fear and safety (following to a T the safety guidelines laid out) then there should be no need to just watch it on TV. We all know TV is not the same as real life!

            Liked by 2 people

    • nyetneetot says:

      Driving in stop and go traffic East or West at sunrise or sun set and staring directly at it for a quarter hour or more never seems to get mentioned.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LN says:

        I think it’s different at sunrise and sunset because it’s filtering through more layers of atmosphere.


        • PhotoHawk says:

          The glasses filter even more than that. Could we have some historical perspective? Ancient people did not all go blind when they saw them.


          • stella says:

            I suspect most ancient people hid (except for the priests).

            Somewhere in the comments is a link to a BBC article about people who had eye injuries after the 1999 solar eclipse.


  13. ImpeachEmAll says:

    So, when the mention
    of the effect on Nature?

    The silence is deafening.
    Here and the environment.

    The birds will stop chirping.
    There will be darkness and
    silence, very spooky, indeed.
    Also a drop in temperature.

    If on the water (boating)
    expect a fog bank to roll
    in, if it is a nice sunny day.
    Pea soup type of fog. The
    fog happens after the show.


  14. IfThenElse says:

    Regarding the solar eclipse, I would like to point out that IF the moon were any larger or smaller, IF the sun were any closer or further away, or if the moon were any closer or further away given its size, then we just wouldn’t have this “perfect” event.


    Me thinks not.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wooly Covfefe says:

      Even Einstein said that there is no way that all this is an accident, that there must be an intelligence behind it all. I agree. Even if I had never read the Bible, nor believed it, I would agree.

      If the moon were slightly closer, or slightly further away, in it’s orbit, our oceans would either be immense stagnant ponds, or chaotic turmoil, the tides destroying continents.

      This place is not an accident of random chance.

      John Denney says:
      March 25, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      On the one hand, there should be no life in the universe if there is no God:

      To replicate, a cell requires two enzymes, helicase to split the DNA lengthwise, and polymerase to reconstruct the missing half of each half. It’s recursive, so the DNA must contain the code for these two enzymes. That code requires about 1800 “rungs” on the DNA ladder, each of which can be 1 of 4 possibilities, so the odds of getting the combination correct for just that information is 1 in 4^1800, which is more than 10^1000.
      The entire universe is estimated to have 10^70 atoms. If you gave every atom a million guesses per second for 15 billion years, there would be about 10^100 guesses. Even given that absurd optimism, one would still expect zero to 900 decimal places occurrence of that information content, ignoring the unlikely odds of all the organic chemistry requirements to create an actual DNA strand.
      It is also unlikely that that DNA sequence, made of nucleotides, would happen to fall together on the same planet and location as the protein machinery, made of amino acids, capable of “executing” DNA code. The machinery code is arguably even more complex than the DNA code for just those two enzymes, and must also be included in the DNA.
      Since the universe is incapable of generating that information, it must have come from outside the universe, which fits with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

      But on the other hand, C.S. Lewis, in his Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength), posits that the universe teems with intelligent life, but they all avoid The Dark Planet (earth) where sin is.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. RAC says:

    Projection is the safest way either a projection box or small telescope projecting the image onto a screen or wall.

    Liked by 2 people

    • RAC says:

      Also, I have used the telescope projection method previously using a small cheap telescope, if you have one, an erecting prism on the eye piece will make it more convenient to “swing” the image so you can have the viewing screen in a comfortable position.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Robin Hillyer says:

    It’s peek not peak.


  17. In the spirit of the “soda tax’, Chicago in making a law that states the solar eclipse, within Cook County, can only be viewed at night.


  18. Diane says:

    Some in the news industry say it can be watched without the glasses in the path of 100% totality. Is this truthful?


  19. Mary Busby says:

    There’ll be so much to see without looking at the sun/moon. The “unnatural” darkness. Bizarre shadows. Every leaf defect will act as a pinhole camera. Imagine watching the movement of the moon across the sun in every leaf shadow. That’s the coolest thing you’ll see. Teachers and parents need to study up on it so they can direct the kids to see it all. I have so many memories of a partial eclipse as a kid. Such a wondrous thing. And I didn’t look at the sun even once. It’s the whole experience. The specific image of the moon crossing in front of the sun is just one small part.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. S says:

    Why do people believe some random Facebook post is more credible than NASA’s recommendations for viewing an eclipse safely?

    Liked by 2 people

    • stella says:

      It has called the attention of almost 40,000 people just here, which is an accomplishment, I think. How many of them had read the NASA recommendations, I wonder?

      Besides, there is nothing written here that can hurt anyone. The worst thing that could happen is that someone is overly cautious.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Mary says:

    Did my niece Colleen Pinski get credited for this photo?


  22. stella says:

    For those who don’t believe some optometrist on Facebook, here is an article on WebMD regarding eye damage that can be caused by improperly viewing the eclipse:

    During Eclipse, ‘Your Eye Can Scorch’

    The hype is true: Look directly at this month’s solar eclipse without good protection, and you can seriously damage your eyes. And not just for a little while.

    Just ask Russell Van Gelder, MD, former president of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

    “I have one patient in his 60s who looked at the sun through a telescope when he was 9 years old and still has a central block in his vision,” says Van Gelder, chairman of the ophthalmology department at the University of Washington Medical School.

    Your eyes wouldn’t burst into flames. The impact of the sun’s rays is more like a branding iron. “The eye is actually a magnifier, and it is about 3 or 4 times stronger than most hand-held magnifying glasses,” Van Gelder says. And just as a magnifying glass can focus the energy of sunlight enough to set a piece of paper on fire, sunlight focused through the lens of your eye can scorch your retina with little or no warning…


  23. Brenda says:

    I would rather watch the eclipse in real life then on tv you can watch eclipses on YouTube and tv all year long it’s nothing special. even if there are some risks what doesn’t have risk in life? Just test your glasses with a flashlight to make sure they block excessive light smoothly and don’t have tears. And make sure you buy approved glasses. Also if you have kids who are likely to peek around the glasses or run around causing them to fall off use some strong tape or bandaids to keep those suckers from falling off. And be a good parent and watch your children durning dangerous situations. Don’t let them take off the glasses. If you know for sure they can’t behave for their safety simply leave them inside during the event. They will understand when they are older that they couldn’t handle the event.


  24. Carole H Holland says:

    What happened to chholland That’s my e-mail address.


  25. Molly says:

    I’m sure they’ll be a ton of news stories about those who have gone blind. Makes me sad. If I had children, they would be inside at home that day. Ugh


  26. Can you do a behind your back selfies pic.behind your back picture of it.


  27. Dale Wiseman says:

    Don’t view the eclipse with any glasses including Welders 8, 10, 14 or even 150, it’s not enough. The only true safe method is the shadow box


  28. Jessica's Reading Room says:

    Reblogged this on Jessica's Reading Room and commented:
    Something to think about for Monday….


  29. Cindy says:

    He’s seen many and has this to say about the article to “watch on tv)


    • stella says:

      The man who posted this is an astronomer, not an eye doctor. Did you read the other article from WebMD posted in the comments? That was written with consultation of an opthomologist.

      It’s important to do your own research, but if you are going to talk about possible eye damage, it seems logical to talk to an eye doctor rather than an astronomer.

      I am suggesting that each person read as much as possible about this, and check with your own eye doctor if you have doubts.

      Just because this one guy (not an eye doctor) says not to worry doesn’t impress me either.

      You don’t feel pain when internal damage occurs in your eye, so you won’t know up to 48 hours after the event that damage has happened.


    • stella says:

      After the 1999 total eclipse in England:

      Eclipse eye damage reports rise

      Patients with eye damage caused by the eclipse will continue to arrive at UK hospitals well into the weekend, say experts.
      Moorfields Eye Hospital, one of the UK’s top centres, has already answered 400 calls on its helpline, and helped 40 people in the accident and emergency department.

      And Birmingham City Hospital has had more than 200 calls, and 30 arrivals at casualty.

      A spokesman for Moorfields said that the symptoms of eye damage often took up to 48 hours to appear, and predicted a steady stream of casualties.

      Ophthalmologists throughout the UK are contributing to a massive research programme gathering information about eclipse-related eye problems. [more]


  30. malcolm medley says:

    I have an idea. Why not have the people who male the glasses provide sheets of the lens material so that schools can put the sheets on a few of the school’s windows. Teachers can have viewing parties for the kids inside their schools.


  31. shadix33 says:

    What I hate is that if my children stay home that day or are checked out early, it’s UNexcused!


  32. margaret long says:

    I will stay inside my home and protect my vision. My eyes mean more to me than any eclipse!


  33. pbodwell says:

    When we were kids we absolutely did not look. We did the pinhole paper and watched it through that. Our Mom was right there beside us every second. It was a great science learning experiment. We learned and believed we shouldn’t look at it but still got to see the excitement of it through a science experiment.


  34. Gail G. says:

    My father worked in steel mills as an engineer. The last solar eclipse he had brought home these very thick plates of glass that the welders have in their face shields for their eyes. I remember the glass was thick and hunter green in color. We looked through those safely at our eclipse. Then today I see all these glasses you can purchase and thought…..well, it’s been a lot of years….maybe technology came this far with a lite weight glass. My choice…..I will stick with what my Dad brought me. He knew his metals, stones and materials. Definitely not worth the risk to purchase!


  35. stella says:

    Just heard from a cousin in Washington State. They bought five pairs of eclipse glasses from Amazon weeks ago, and now have been told that they are NOT certified!

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Sharon says:

    Will watch it on TV


  37. landrybaby says:

    Schools in my city are open as usual on August 21st. Just last week, our newspaper published comments from many, many parents expressing their concern about schools being open that day and the potential harm to their children. School district authorities responded by saying each teacher knew of the dangers and necessary precautions would be taken to keep each student safe. I want to meet the second grade teacher who can keep her eye on 25 feisty 7 yr. olds and make 100% certain not a single child takes a sneak peek.


  38. Cheri says:

    Why aew kids going to school in the summer???
    I have to wonder why kids are in school in the summer??


  39. Bill Rawlins says:

    I just attended a NASA-sponsored seminar and was given NASA-approved solar glasses. I was told that I could look at the sun as long as I wanted with these glasses on. Is that correct?


    • stella says:

      If it was sponsored by NASA, I think you can trust them! All information offered here is for your consideration and information. Get the facts, and make your decision based on what you have learned.


  40. Stephanie says:

    There is an alternative to staring at the sun..make a pinhole projector.

    It will show you what the sun looks like by the shadow the moon makes as it passes in front of the sun..
    NASA recommends these over looking through the glasses.
    5mm hole in a card or paper held above a surface is all you need..or do it this way..
    This is just one resource but there are many others.
    Stay safe and have fun


  41. Donald W says:

    What about a welding shield at the highest darkness would that be ok?


  42. Patsy Held says:

    Please explain better why/ how it can cause such severe damage. Why is the sunlight behind the moon so harmful? So if you look less than 30 seconds it won’t hurt your eyes? Please, more details.


  43. Anna Spooner says:

    What about looking at it in a mirror? Not directly, but at an angle?


  44. James says:

    Would a welding mask work.


  45. TV isn’t the only safe way to view the eclipse though. I’ve created a brief video on how to make a pinhole projector, which allows a person to safely view the solar eclipse, by focusing and viewing a reflection of the event, so your eyes never look directly at the sun.


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