Don’t Look At The Sun During Monday’s Solar Eclipse

Aug 17, 2017

Don’t look at the sun during Monday’s eclipse.

That’s the message from Dr. Michael Abramoff, an ophthalmologist and retinal specialist at the University of Iowa. He warns that during every total solar eclipse, about five or 10 people permanently damage their eyes.

"It’s just like when you get a sunburn that’s from the ultraviolet light and that’s, you know, fairly, fairly dangerous and bad for cells," he explains. "Because it’s so concentrated it does extra damage exactly where you need it in the retina, in the back of your eye which is where you read and see things in detail."

Doctors can do very little once there is permanent damage to the retina, though you may not realize there’s damage for several hours. The retina doesn’t feel pain and often people assume that a glare they are seeing will go away, but it doesn't. 

If you want to view the eclipse, make sure you are wearing special glasses. Ordinary sunglasses will not provide enough protection. 

Some stores like Casey’s General Store, Lowe’s and Best Buy have already sold their inventories of eclipse glasses, though the Science Center of Iowa still has some in stock. Some local libraries have also had glasses available.