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Even partial eclipse is harmful to eyes

Hospital news | Friday, August 18, 2017

While other parts of the country are eagerly looking forward to Monday's total eclipse of the sun, northeast Ohioans will have to be content with only a partial eclipse. But, this means we must be even more careful about eye safety.

ACMC Ophthalmologist Alexander Taich, MD, provides the following information from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

  • Even briefly looking directly at the sun can damage your eyes.
  • You can see the eclipse by using a solar filter or eclipse glasses with a strong enough filter to block most of the light and harmful radiation.
  • Discard scratched or damaged solar filters.
  • Do not reuse older solar filters.
  • Do not view the sun through a telescope, binoculars, cameras, or other magnification equipment.

If you are unsure if your solar filter or eclipse glasses are safe, here are several tips from the American Astronomical Society:

  • Solar filters or eclipse glasses should dim the bright sunlight so it appears no brighter than the full moon. If you wear the glasses and the daytime sky is still too bright, they are not safe.
  • The glasses should not distort your view or make things blurry or out of focus. Anything viewed through the glasses should be clear, sharp, and in focus.
  • One test is to put the glasses on and look at a table lamp. If you see anything of the table lamp or surrounding items, the glasses are not safe. If you cannot see the lamp, take the lampshade off and look at the bare lightbulb. If it is the only thing you see, your glasses are probably safe.
  • Homemade filters are dangerous because they may not filter out harmful UV or IR radiation, which are also harmful to your eyes.
  • Welding masks or goggles may be used only if they are Shade 12 or greater. Welding filters may give the sun a green or purple cast, rather than clear, yellow, or orange created by normal solar filters.
  • For more eclipse-viewing tips, visit and search for "eclipse."

Dr. Taich is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Schedule an appointment with him by calling 440-994-7530.