Deerfield Beach, FL, August 16, 2017 --(PR.com
)-- On Aug. 21, millions of people in the U.S. will see day turn to night as a total solar eclipse passes over North America. The last time this happened from coast to coast was 1918. Temperatures will drop rapidly as the moon completely covers the sun. You will be able to see the spectacular colors and light of the sun’s atmosphere, a sight revealed to us only during a total solar eclipse.
While you cannot completely prepare yourself for the sight of a total solar eclipse, ophthalmologists — physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care — want you to be prepared with proper eye protection. Viewing even the smallest sliver of a crescent sun peeking out from behind the moon is enough to cause irreversible damage to your vision.
“Here in Florida, we will only experience the partial solar eclipse, and not the totality phase. Therefore, it is not safe to view this phenomenon at any time without properly certified eclipse glasses. Regular sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not sufficient to prevent eye damage. If there is any concern, it is better to watch the eclipse through an online stream such as www.nasa.gov/eclipselive,” stated Allison L. Rand, MD, ophthalmologist and cornea specialist at Rand Eye Institute.
In addition, since school is back in session after the summer, parents and teachers of children should take extra care to protect young children from the sun’s harmful rays in this extraordinary circumstance. The sudden change in illumination would instinctively cause a young child to look up at the eclipse. For older children, education is key. For younger children who might not follow instructions, it might be better to avoid exposure at this time.
Russell N. Van Gelder, MD, Ph.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology, has treated patients who have lost vision to the sun.
Dr. Van Gelder explains that the lenses in your eyes act like a magnifying glass, one that is 5 times more powerful than a handheld magnifier. Think about how you can use that typical handheld magnifier to focus the sun to burn holes in paper. That’s what happens when you look at the sun without eye protection. You focus the sun’s light on the retina, burning holes in light-sensitive photoreceptor cells, causing blindness.
There is one exception to this rule. There is a brief phase during a total solar eclipse when it is safe to look directly at the sun. This phase is called totality, and it lasts about 2 minutes. It occurs when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face. But as soon as the sun begins to reappear, put the solar filters back on. The path of totality for the Aug. 21, 2017, total solar eclipse is about 70 miles wide and stretches from Oregon to South Carolina. It passes through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Outside the path of totality, sky watchers will see a partial solar eclipse.
There are no exceptions to the rules for safely viewing a partial solar eclipse. To make sure people have the facts, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has teamed up with the American Astronomical Society to offer these five tips:
To date, only four manufacturers have certified that their eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers meet international safety standards:
American Paper Optics
Thousand Oaks Optical
· Inspect your solar filter before the eclipse, and don't use it if it's scratched or damaged.
· Another option is to view the eclipse through #14 welder's glass. That's much darker than the shades arc welders typically wear.
Use solar filters on camera lenses, binoculars, and telescopes.
Do not use solar eclipse glasses to look through a camera, binoculars or a telescope. The sun can melt the filter and damage your eyes.
Please take extreme caution as indicated above by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO)-partial solar eclipse viewing tips. For more specific details, contact the AAO directly.
About Rand Eye Institute
Founded in 1979 by William J. Rand, M.D., one of the most experienced eye surgeons in the country, the Rand Eye Institute is centrally located in Southeast Florida. Rand Eye Institute is a comprehensive eye care and surgical facility, which offers a full-range of patient services, including routine eye examinations, treatment for dry eye syndrome, advanced testing and sophisticated ophthalmic treatments for various eye conditions. Specializing in refractive surgeries such as custom no-flap laser vision correction, custom laser cataract surgery, vitreo-retinal surgery and corneal transplantation; the Rand Eye Institute’s compliment of qualified, Board certified doctors and professional staff provide patients with quality and compassionate care. For more information, visit www.randeye.com.
About the American Academy of Ophthalmology
The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.