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IU School of Medicine expert emphasizes precaution for the solar eclipse

Solar Eclipse

Millions of Americans are preparing to witness a once-in-a-lifetime event on Monday as the first solar eclipse in almost a century will cross the entire continental U.S.

At 12:57 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, Hoosiers will be able to watch as the moon covers approximately 91 percent of the sun. It is recommended that viewers with limited time be outside at 2:24 p.m. to see the peak of the eclipse; however, experts at IU School of Medicine encourage viewers to take precautionary measures while admiring Monday’s spectacle.

“Intense sunlight damages the retina – the light-sensing layer in the back of the eye that we see with,” said Louis Cantor, MD, chair for the IU School of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and director of the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute. “Even just a few seconds of direct sun exposure to the eye can cause temporary, or, in many cases, permanent vision loss.”

Due to the recent spike in counterfeit eye wear being sold, it is important that viewers of Monday’s eclipse take extra precaution when making their eye wear purchases.

“At this stage in the game, individuals who have not already purchased proper eye wear to view the eclipse are putting themselves at great risk because this is such a rare event to witness,” said Dr. Cantor. “Consumers have cleared out a lot of retailers’ inventory, leaving even more room for unapproved eye wear purchases to be made.”

Approved safety glasses for viewing the eclipse will be marked with the international safety standard 12312-2; however, that ISO has been printed on glasses that are not approved. If you are unsure whether or not your eye wear is up to par, the American Astronomical Society has put together an approved vendor and viewer list.

The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.
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IU School of Medicine

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