Retina specialist explains the basics of eclipse eye safety

How the eclipse can harm your eyes

With the upcoming eclipse, there are a lot of conversations about eye safety. Looking directly at the sun, even for a few seconds, can basically create the equivalent of a burn on the retina.

Looking directly at the sun, even for a few seconds, can basically create the equivalent of a burn on the retina, and it doesn’t matter how much of the sun is visible.

“And when the sun is even partially eclipsed, if any part of the sun is showing around the moon in this case, you’ll still get enough of an intensity if you look at it for any extended period of time, that brightness is enough to burn the retina,” said Dr. Jonathan Huz, a well-known ophthalmologist.

Dr. Huz is a retina specialist at Albany Medical Center, and Retina Consultants in Slingerlands.

He says the effects of that retina burn from the sun, called solar retinopathy, are significant.

“Same type of condition as people can get with a laser pointer injury or something like that, where people will notice blurring of their vision, they might notice blind spots in their vision, distortion of their vision, and it’s particularly bothersome because this happens in the part of your vision that gives you your central vision,” he said.

Dr. Huz says the real effects will usually happen later that day, or the next day.

There is no treatment, and in many cases, the damage is permanent.

Regular sunglasses are not enough to look at the eclipse.

The American Astronomical Society has a list of places to get approved safety glasses.

“The ones that are officially approved for use during the eclipse are about 1,000 times dimmer than normal sunglasses,” said Dr. Huz.

Do not use a camera, binoculars or a telescope, even with the approved safety glasses.

According to NASA, viewing any part of the sun without a special -purpose filter will instantly cause severe eye injury.

“So it actually could look brighter through a telescope or through a camera,” said Dr. Huz.

Most of us won’t be able to see something like the great pictures we see online.

Experts say be very cautious about children, who may be curious when they see others looking up. The sun can be especially detrimental to a young eye.

“Actually the younger you are, the more susceptible your eyes are to damage from light as intense as the sun,” he said. “They’re not only not necessarily fully able to understand why they shouldn’t be looking at the sun, but also may be more susceptible.”