Safety tips for April’s solar eclipse

People view the solar eclipse at The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science on August 21, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The April 8 total solar eclipse is quickly approaching and it’s time to plan for a safe celestial event.

Rajeev Ramchandran, an ophthalmologist at the Flaum Eye Institute at the University of Rochester, has some tips for you on how to enjoy it and protect your vision:

1. Wear protective solar eclipse glasses

They are the safest way for you and your family to watch this once-in-a-lifetime event. They are inexpensive and readily available. Look for ISO 12312-2 certification, which is an international standard for the black filters that will prevent damage to your retinas.

“Most of us remember our mother saying: ‘Never look directly at the sun because it’ll hurt your eyes,'” Ramchandran says. “Your mother was right. It can damage your vision.”

While wearing eclipse glasses, you shouldn’t be able to see anything until you turn your gaze toward the sun. Without them, too much light could harm your retinas and lead to solar retinopathy, also called eclipse retinopathy, causing partial or complete blindness.

2. Do not look toward the sun unless you are wearing the glasses

Make sure they cover your eyes completely. Parents should make sure children wear the glasses correctly. If the glasses are too large for your little ones, consider securing the glasses using a rubber band or elastic to fashion a strap. Or, if a child wears prescription eyeglasses, use tape to affix the eclipse glasses to the frame.

3. Use a solar filter on cameras, telescopes, or binoculars in addition to your eclipse glasses

Those devices concentrate light and cause sunlight to burn through solar glasses without proper solar filters.

4. Be a role model

When you wear eclipse glasses properly, others will do it, too.

Source: University of Rochester