Health unit reminds the public to protect their vision during solar eclipse

 In Opinion

On April 8, from approximately 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., there will be a rare total solar eclipse.

A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun. While the sky will darken and bright stars and planets may emerge, looking at the sun without eye protection, even if only briefly during the period of the eclipse, can cause serious permanent damage to your vision, including retinal burns, blurred vision and loss of sight.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Public Health Unit recommends taking precautions to protect your vision during this once-in-a-lifetime celestial event.

The safest way to watch the eclipse is through virtual channels, such as a live stream. You can also view the solar eclipse safely by using international standard ISO 12312-2 certified eye protection glasses with special filters to watch all the phases of a solareclipse. Ensure that the lenses are free of damage, including wrinkles or scratches and that the glasses fully cover your field of vision. Look away from the sun before putting on and after taking off the glasses. It is not safe to view the eclipse through regular sunglasses, camera/phone lens, telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. If you don’t have special glasses designed for eclipse watching, there are other ways to watch an eclipse, such as an eclipse projector, which you can easily learn how to make.

Children’s eyes let in more light to the retina than adult eyes, so they are at higher risk of harm if they look at the sun without proper eye protection. Help children use their eye protection correctly and provide supervision. If not able to fully supervise and ensure a safe viewing experience with eye protection on, consider alternate viewing strategies such as watching by live stream. You may choose to keep children, and other individuals who may not fully comprehend the risks involved, indoors with closed window coverings as an added precaution.

Our retinas do not have pain sensors and eye damage may not be immediate. Symptoms can take 12-48 hours to appear. If you begin to experience temporary visual loss, blurred vision, or eyesight loss during or after the event, speak to an eye care professional, such as an optometrist or your health care provider as soon as possible. If you are experiencing blindness after viewing the eclipse (immediate or delayed), seek emergency care immediately.

If travelling or driving during the eclipse, avoid looking at the eclipse from a vehicle to protect your eyes and avoid collisions. Plan for traffic delays and if on a highway, it is advised not to stop, take pictures or get out of your vehicle to view the eclipse.

For more information visit or call, or call Health Connection at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721- 7520, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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