how can an eclipse hurt your eyes

How Can an Eclipse Hurt Your Eyes?

Have you ever heard about a solar eclipse? It’s a fascinating event where the moon moves in front of the sun, blocking its light for a short time.

Many people are excited to watch this amazing sight, but did you know that looking at a solar eclipse can hurt your eyes and lead you to visit an eye specialist in Calgary? In this blog, we will explain how an eclipse can damage your eyes and how to watch it safely.

What Is a Solar Eclipse?

A solar eclipse is a phase when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun. It can make it look like the sun has a dark shadow or like a bite has been taken out of it. There are three chief types of solar eclipses:

  • Total Solar Eclipse: The moon completely covers the sun, and you can see the sun’s outer atmosphere, called the corona.
  • Partial Solar Eclipse: Only a part of the sun is covered by the moon.
  • Annular Solar Eclipse: The moon covers the centre of the sun, leaving a bright ring called the “ring of fire” around the edges.

Why Can’t You Look at the Sun?

The sun is incredibly bright. Even though it is about 93 million miles away from us, the light it gives off is powerful. This light contains ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are harmful to our eyes. Normally, we don’t stare at the sun because it hurts our eyes, and we instinctively look away.

What Happens During an Eclipse?

During a solar eclipse, people often want to look at the sun because it seems dimmer, and the event is so special. However, even when the sun is partly covered by the moon, its light is still very strong. Staring at the sun during an eclipse can cause severe damage to your eyes.

How Can an Eclipse Damage Your Eyes?

If you’re wondering, how can an eclipse hurt your eyes? Here’s your answer. Directly making contact with the sun during an eclipse can damage your retina. The retina is a part of your eye that senses light and helps you see. The damage can happen very quickly and is often painless, so you might not even realize it’s happening. This condition is called “solar retinopathy.”

Solar Retinopathy

Solar retinopathy occurs when powerful sunlight burns a spot on your retina. The symptoms of solar retinopathy include blurry vision, blind spots, or even permanent vision loss. The scary part is that it doesn’t hurt while it’s happening, so people don’t always know they’re harming their eyes until it’s too late.

How to Watch an Eclipse Safely

The good news is that you can enjoy watching a solar eclipse without risking your eyesight. Here are a few safe options to view an eclipse:

1. Eclipse Glasses

Eclipse glasses are special glasses that have lenses made of a material that blocks almost all the sun’s harmful rays. Regular sunglasses are not safe enough for looking at the sun. You should only use eclipse glasses that are certified and meet the safety standards for viewing the sun.

2. Pinhole Projector

A pinhole projector is a simple device you can make at home. All you need is a piece of cardboard. Poke a small hole in the cardboard and hold it so the sunlight passes through the hole and casts a shadow on the ground or a piece of paper. You will see a small, safe image of the eclipse on the surface.

3. Solar Viewing Filters

These filters can be placed on telescopes, binoculars, or cameras to view the sun safely. Make sure the filters are designed for solar viewing and are not scratched or damaged.

4. Watch the Eclipse Online

You can always watch the eclipse live online if you need the right equipment. Many websites and TV channels stream the event, and you can enjoy it from the safety of your home.

What to Do if You Accidentally Look at the Sun

If you accidentally look at the sun during an eclipse, look away immediately. Try to avoid doing it again and give your eyes a break. If you notice any changes in your vision, such as blurry spots or difficulty seeing, tell an adult and visit an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Last Thoughts

A solar eclipse is a breathtaking event that you don’t want to miss. But remember, your eyesight is precious, and you should only look directly at the sun with proper protection. By using eclipse glasses, a pinhole projector, or other safe viewing methods, you can enjoy the magic of an eclipse without harming your eyes.

So, the next time there’s a solar eclipse, gather your friends and family, use the right tools, and marvel at this incredible celestial show safely. In case you have done any trauma to your eyes, visit Seema Eye and let our in-house ophthalmologist in Calgary do the needful.