16 Aug A Solar eclipse will be visible in Texas next week! Here’s how to protect your eyes
Monday, Aug 21 between 11:30 am, and 2:40 pm, North Texas will be experiencing a partial solar eclipse. We have had many patients at Kirkwood Eye Center ask what we recommend for viewing the eclipse. While this is a historical event, it is important to know there are serious risks of permanent damage to one’s vision associated with viewing a solar eclipse directly. We care about our patients’ optimal visual health and want to provide our readers here with the necessary information to enjoy this event safely.
We want to caution anyone who opts to directly view the eclipse to visit the American Astronomical Society’s website at eclipse.aas.org for a list of reputable vendors whose solar viewers have been verified by an accredited testing lab to meet the ISO standard.
It is of utmost importance to select approved solar glasses. However, this is not an absolute guarantee of safety. 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 may result in solar maculopathy- a permanent and irreversible loss of central vision for any eye exposed. Just like sunburn to the skin, the effects are not felt or noticed immediately, so affected individuals are not aware there is a problem until it is too late. As recently as this week, NBC-DFW ran a story that Amazon issued a recall of counterfeit solar eclipse glasses because they did not meet International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. Again, if you choose to view the eclipse directly, please mitigate your risk of using inadequate solar glasses by referring to an independently verified list of glasses that meet ISO standards such as that on eclipse.aas.org.
One of the most important cautions we can give you in solar eclipse viewing involves children. Parents must ensure proper use of approved solar glasses with direct parental supervision at all times. As the eclipse passes over many places, including Columbus, the moon will not block 100% of the sun. Because the moon blocks so much of its light, if one looks at it without full protection, it does not cause pain as watching 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 directly at the sun for a short period. In 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 tend to want to peek around the filter to see the eclipse without the glasses. One failure, just one, where education and supervision fail, could have a devastating consequence.
This is a fun and exciting topic for kids. Please, please be safe!
Safe alternatives to watching the Solar Eclipse:
There are a handful of events around the Dallas Fort Worth area hosting special events for the solar eclipse. Here are a few for you to consider:
Frontier of Flight Museum 6911 Lemmon Ave. Dallas, TX 75209 will provide the first 300 visitors a pair of “Eclipse Glasses.” Admission is $7.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science 2201 N. Field St. Dallas, TX 75202 will be having space activities, learning about solar eclipses, and viewing of a live feed from NASA of the solar eclipse in totality. Admission is free.
Another safe alternative to watching the eclipse is to build a pinhole projector. This is a fun craft project that is safe for watching the solar eclipse. Here is a video from NASA demonstrating how to make a viewer out of a cereal box.
To schedule an appointment at our Southlake, TX location call our office at