Sunday, August 20, 2017

Warning About the Solar Eclipse

As most of  you probably know, there will be a solar eclipse on Monday, August 21.  Many are scrambling to get special glasses for the occasion.  I think, based on the information I have read this year, we will sit this out, as I don't want to risk my children's vision. I wanted to share some information from you from optometrists so that you ladies can have this knowledge to best serve your families.  God bless you, and have a wonderful day.

This warning was originally posted on Facebook, but I'm sharing it with you here for your information.

Michael Schecter:

As an Optometrist , I want to express concern that I have about the solar eclipse on Monday, Aug 21. There are serious risks associated with viewing a solar eclipse directly, even with the use of solar filter glasses. Everyone should keep in mind if they or their children are considering this.

We have to keep in mind that some people will encounter the inability to control every aspect of this exercise. For instance, true solar eclipse glasses are made for adults, do not fit children well and should not be used without direct parental supervision. 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 will result in permanent and irreversible vision loss for any eye exposed. Just like sunburn to the skin, the effects are not felt or noticed immediately. I have a great fear that I will have patients in my office on Tuesday, Aug 22 who woke up with hazy, blurry vision that I cannot fix. It is a huge risk to watch the eclipse even with the use of solar glasses. There is no absolutely safe way to do so other than on TV.

The biggest danger with children is ensuring proper use without direct parental supervision. As the eclipse passes over many places, including Columbus, the moon will not block 100% of the sun. Because so much of its light is blocked by the moon, if one looks at it without full protection, it does not cause pain as looking at 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 for a bit….and even 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 have a tendency to want to peak [sic] around the filter to see what is actually going on up there. One failure, just one, where education and supervision fail, will have such a devastating consequence.

Please, please be safe. Watch it on television.

Here is another post by an optometrist that was also shared on a Facebook page:

Baseline Vision Clinic - Dr Joan Ploem Miller & Dr Sarah Olmschenk
As an eye doctor I feel compelled to comment about the upcoming eclipse: 
1) You really can PERMANENTLY damage your eyes. So stay inside or learn how to be safe. 
2) While some docs say the only safe way to watch is on TV, I do believe you can experience this unique event safely but you MUST be careful. 
3) You must wear ISO 13212-2 certified protection if you view the eclipse. Inspect them for scratches or defects as either of these can make them very dangerous to use 
4) Even with approved protective eclipse glasses, GLANCE at the progress but don't stare at it the whole time 
5) Turn away from the sun when putting on eclipse glasses and make sure they fit securely. This is especially important for children. Supervise them and make sure no stray sunlight is bypassing the glasses 
6) I'm going to have my favorite eye closed and look intermittently with my eclipse glasses protected "non-dominant" eye 
7) At totality you can take your glasses off but immediately when the "diamond" sparkle at the edge of the eclipse starts, turn away and put your eclipse glasses back on 
8. Let the pros take the photos. Record the news or check it out later. Any pics you take with your phone will suck...yes even with the latest, greatest phone. A tiny dot of a sun obscured or not, will not be something worthwhile. Enjoy the experience and don't waste it by trying to capture it 
9) Look around at your surroundings for unusually lighting effects. There is a lot to see on the ground that will be cool 
10) There are no "Do overs". Don't dare someone or take a dare. A retinal burn makes you see a black spot exactly where you look, every time you look, FOREVER.

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