It’s Aug. 21, 2017. You’re watching the eclipse, and you’re dressed to impress. The only problem? Eyewear.
“I’ve got sweet aviators,” you say to yourself, gazing hesitantly at the cardboard eclipse glasses that have been handed to you. “I’ll be fine in those, right? How bad can that little thing called ‘the sun’ be?!”
Well, according to eye doctors, the answer is “very bad” – and come eclipse day, you better sacrifice your style plans for eclipse glasses – otherwise, thanks to permanent eye damage, you may never see the same thing in the mirror again.
And if you don’t believe your friendly local news station, here’s someone you can believe: Dr. Jon Pederson, the president of the Colorado Optometrics Association.
“If you stare at the sun you can cause solar retina biopathy, which is damage to the tissue inside the eye,” he said.
Here’s how it works: your retina is inside the eye, kind of like the film on a camera, Pederson said. To put it simply, when you stare at the sun for too long, you burn.
“It’s like a magnifying glass burning a leaf, and it can cause some vision loss and damage to the eye,” Pederson said.
Eclipse glasses are 10,000 times stronger than your sweet aviator sunglasses, and are coated with chromium, aluminum or silver.
With these, you can look directly at the sun – and they actually allow you to see the sun in its natural orange color.
Ok … but what happens to you if you do stare at the sun?
“If someone ends up getting solar retinopathy by staring at the sun, you can have a loss of acuity, just your general vision,” Pederson said. “It may return or improve over one to six months.
“Some other symptoms are called a scotoma, or blind spot in your vision or loss of color vision.”
Another piece of caution? Make sure your eclipse glasses are legit. You’ll find an approved list of glasses at: https://www.aoa.org/