Will you be one of the millions of people across Oregon looking to the sky on Monday, August 21? If so, you’ll see the rare natural wonder of a total solar eclipse, as the moon passes between the sun and earth, creating a tremendous shadow in Oregon and across the country.
Doctors and nurses at The Portland Clinic encourage all of our neighbors to enjoy the Monday morning event, while taking every precaution to avoid any damage the sun can cause to your eyes. It is extremely dangerous to look directly at the sun during the eclipse, or anytime, without proper, certified eye protection.
NASA explains, “When a person looks repeatedly or for a long time at the sun without proper protection for the eyes, this photochemical retinal damage may be accompanied by a thermal injury — the high level of visible and near-infrared radiation causes heating that literally cooks the exposed tissue.” In more concise terms, your eyes can be severely damaged if you look at the sun, especially during the solar eclipse.
The American Astronomical Society has compiled a list of manufacturers and glasses in compliance with the latest standards, ISO 12312-2, to block damaging infrared and ultraviolet light. If your glasses are listed and/or your glasses are marked with “ISO,” you are ready to view this amazing sight! Remember, due to tremendous demand for these low-cost glasses, there may be a large number of uncertified glasses on the market. Always check. If your certified glasses are damaged in any way — a rip or fold in the foil — do not use them.
As an extra precaution, keep your cameras, smartphones, binoculars and telescopes away, unless you’ve purchased protective lens filters. The intense solar rays will not only damage your devices, but lenses will also intensify rays and can burn through certified solar glasses, which could result in retinal damage.
If you’re not traveling, don’t worry. The Multnomah County Library will be hosting a Total Solar Eclipse Party, complete with simple solar eclipse crafts and free certified glasses for families!
Stay safe and enjoy the show, Portland! If you have any questions about proper eye protection for the solar eclipse or daily wear, please don’t hesitate to contact your ophthalmologist at The Portland Clinic by calling 503-223-3113 or visiting ThePortlandClinic.com. You can also visit: eclipse.aas.org for more eclipse safety information.