Vision expert dispels misconceptions about eye safety during solar eclipses

By Majesty 4 Min Read

Debunking three myths and deceptions around solar eclipses

The solar eclipse, one of science’s greatest marvels, exudes mystery and can give rise to some misconceptions.

Prevent Blindness, a Chicago-based health and safety organisation that works to prevent blindness and preserve vision, is promoting eye safety ahead of the April 8 eclipse by debunking a few myths about it.

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The organization’s president and CEO, Jeff Todd, discussed some of the most common falsehoods and their corresponding realities with Fox News Digital. 

Vision expert dispels misconceptions about eye safety during solar eclipses
Total Solar Eclipse 2024, Astronomical Phenomenon

Myth 1: Spending a minute or two gazing at the sun is OK

According to Todd, one prevalent misunderstanding is the idea that gazing at the sun for a brief period of time is harmless.  

“Eclipse viewers should never look directly at the sun, as it can cause permanent eye damage,” he stated.

“Exposing your eyes to the sun without proper eye protection during a solar eclipse can cause ‘eclipse blindness’ or retinal burns, also known as solar retinopathy.”

Todd did concede, though, that there may be a very small window of time during a total solar eclipse when it is safe to take off your glasses.  

“The only time it is safe to do so without proper protection or equipment occurs when the moon is completely covering the sun — and even then, viewers should do so cautiously,” he stated to Fox News Digital. 

Todd also pointed out that it’s critical to understand that every eclipse is unique.

“It is never safe to look at a partial solar eclipse — at any time during the event — without proper eye protection.”

Myth 2: Using a smartphone to see the eclipse is safe 

Todd cautioned that when trying to line up your smartphone camera and stage the ideal photo, watching a solar eclipse on it could put you at danger of inadvertently staring at the sun. This could also potentially harm your smartphone camera.   

“Thinking that it’s safe to use your camera’s viewfinder is another common misconception,” he continued. 

“Looking at a solar eclipse through the optical viewfinder of a camera can damage your eyes in the same way that looking at the sun directly without proper protection can.”

Nonetheless, there are safe ways to take shots of an eclipse.

“If you’re planning on trying to capture your own solar eclipse photos or videos, take the time to review the guidelines in advance to ensure that you are properly prepared,” he said.

Myth 3: Harmful radiation emitted by eclipses can induce blindness

Todd says that while it’s never acceptable to stare directly at the sun, it’s a myth that eclipses release dangerous radiation that might result in blindness.

“If you’re using proper eye protection and practicing caution, you can safely experience the solar eclipse,” he stated.

“Always consult an eye care professional for additional guidance if you have questions or concerns about eye safety.”

Todd urged everyone who plans to watch Monday’s total solar eclipse to put their safety first.  

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