Safely Observing Eclipse 2017

In a few days (August 21) and during the estimated times of 1:16 pm to 4:11 pm, we will experience a solar eclipse. As your eye doctor, it is my desire to safeguard the health of your eyes. For that reason, I have compiled some of the most important points that may answer your questions regarding the safety or risk related to observing the 2017 eclipse.

*Sun gazing or observing the sun directly can permanently harm your eyes and vision by damaging the retina—the tissue in the eye responsible for absorbing light and translating it into vision.

*During an eclipse, many people are tempted to gaze at the phenomenon. Do not do so, unless you are wearing safe and reliable certified eclipse glasses. Eclipse glasses must meet the ISO 12312-2 standard. As of today, some vendors have been reported to use the ISO certified logo when in fact they do not meet the requirement. Visit for a list of reliable vendors.

*The only moment during an eclipse where you could look at the sun without eclipse glasses is during the so called path of totality. That brief moment occurs when the sun in completely covered by the moon.

*Unfortunately, for this 2017 eclipse, we Floridians are not in the path of totality and therefore, you must use your eclipse glasses at all moments of observation. The sun will be eclipsed about 90% in Florida so we will get an almost complete eclipse but not a total eclipse. Therefore, we should always have our eclipse glasses while observing.

Other important things to remember for safe viewing:

* Put your eclipse glasses on before you look toward the eclipse.

* Be still while observing to ensure the glasses stay in place.

*When you are going to take the eclipse glasses off, first turn away from the eclipse and then take the eclipse glasses off.

*You may wear the eclipse glasses on top of your regular glasses or contact lenses just make sure they stay in place for full protection.

*Do not use a camera, telescope or binoculars while viewing with your eclipse glasses.

*Make sure that kids wearing eclipse glasses can follow the safety guidelines.

You can read more information on the American Optometric Association website or the American Astronomical Society website:

Enjoy this experience safely!


Jenilee Rebarber, OD

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