For the first time since June 18, 1918, the entire contiguous United States will be able to view a total eclipse of the sun. On Monday, August 21st, what’s being called The Great American Solar Eclipse will create an exciting show in the sky.
By now you’ve heard that you need to buy special solar eclipse glasses to view the eclipse, but maybe you thought it was a bunch of silliness created to get you to spend money.
The truth is, it’s absolutely vital that everyone, children and adults alike, wear special glasses or use approved viewers to watch the solar eclipse.
Solar aka Eclipse Retinopathy
There is a reason human beings don’t stare at the sun. Evolution made sure that looking directly at the sun for even a short amount of time is fairly painful. We just can’t do it.
But when the total solar eclipse happens, it’s different. Our natural reflexes won’t take over in the way that they usually do. As the moon slowly covers the sun our pupils won’t contract the way they typically do, and we won’t blink as much as if we were staring at the sun any other day.
Without protective eyewear our retinas will be flooded with ultraviolet light and we’ll experience solar retinopathy.
In less than a minute and a half, even quicker if you’re taking a decongestant or other kinds of medication that causes the pupils to dilate, the damage is done.
This Is What Happens When You View the Solar Eclipse Without Glasses:
Abnormal visual perception which causes objects appear to be smaller than they are in reality.
Even if you’re one of the lucky ones whose vision corrects itself within 1 to 6 months, that’s a long time to suffer with those symptoms.
Scarier still, doctors say that even when your eyesight does improve a little in the first few months, it could stop getting better and become permanent.
That’s not a risk I’m willing to take, and I’m definitely not going to risk it with my kids.
Before you head to Amazon to buy protective eyewear, please read the rest of this post!
There is a flood of unsafe glasses and viewers being sold as safe. NASA says to be sure yours will really do the job, buy only glasses that have “ISO 12312-2” on the side.
To make it even easier for you to find the correct products, The American Astronomical Society has created a list of five verified companies.
It’s also really important that you stay away from homemade filters or dark sunglasses. NASA says they aren’t safe.
As long as you are prepared for the eclipse with your safety glasses you are going to have a great time. I am so excited to witness this with my kids this year!