PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Are you planning on watching the solar eclipse? If so, you’ll want to protect your eyes, and your everyday sunglasses won’t cut it.
You’ll want to buy eclipse glasses if you plan on looking up at the eclipse on Aug. 21.
The glasses should have a marking that says ISO or EN on it. It’s important to have certified eclipse glasses as doctors say staring at the eclipse without them can cause permanent damage like blindness.
Jim Todd, director of space science education at OMSI, said, “They need to be certified. You can’t just get ordinary sunglasses, or any other devices that you consider to be sun filters.”
Todd explained to KOIN 6 News how the moon blocks the sun, creating the eclipse. He also shared the dangers that lie within the monumental event.
He said your eyes can be permanently damaged if you don’t wear the correct filters or if you look at the sun, either directly or for more than 10 seconds.
“During the eclipse, no matter where you are, have the solar viewing glasses on hand,” Todd said.
Although sunglasses may seem like a safe choice when viewing the eclipse, optometrists advise against it.
Andrew Aker, optometrist at Visualeyes, said, “A lot of people think ‘Hey, I got a great idea. I’m going to wear 2 pairs of sunglasses.’ Not going to cut it. You definitely need the classified filters, whether wielding glasses or those provided specifically for the eclipses.”
Aker said the effects from sun damage can last anywhere from “a few seconds, to minutes, to days to weeks to months.”
The sun damages your eyes by affecting the retina. It’s the tissue that lines the inside of the eye, which is responsible for converting light and what our brain recognizes as vision.
The only time you can look at the eclipse without any protection is when it’s completely covered, and you have to be in an area of totality. If you’re somewhere else, like in Portland, you’ll need to wear eclipse glasses the entire time.
This warning is especially important for children as they may see the eclipse starting and stare at it without any protection.