McFarland Clinic

How to View the Solar Eclipse Safely

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August 18, 2017

The coming solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21 has people wondering how they can observe it. It is important to know how to safely view the eclipse.

Eclipse Glasses with Sun

Use Proper Eye Protection

In Central Iowa the eclipse will be about 90 to 95 percent, but the only safe way to look directly at the sun during the event is through special-purpose solar filters. These are most often seen in the form of eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers.

"Looking directly at the sun during the eclipse--or at any time--without the proper filters will damage your eyes," says Dr. Linda Lehman, Ophthalmology Chair at McFarland Clinic. "Unfortunately some retail outlets have been selling filters that do not meet the proper safety standards. You should never use filters that do not meet these standards."

Look for filters that are labeled ISO 12312-2. These filters meet international safety standards.

Where to Find Solar Filters

The American Astronomical Society has a list of Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers. Unfortunately many vendors are sold out, including McFarland Clinic. If you do not have the proper filters, there are other safe ways to observe the eclipse without looking directly at the sun. Check the American Astronomical Society website for more information.

More Information

The following webpages have more information about the eclipse and how to safely observe it...

American Academy of Ophthalmology: Solar Eclipse Eye Safety (infographic)
NASA: 2017 Eclipse Website
NASA: Eclipse 101 - How to View the 2017 Solar Eclipse Safely
American Astronomical Society: Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers

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